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- NL Notes: Hellweg, Cuddyer, Cubs, Espinosa
- Padres In Active Trade Talks Involving Nick Hundley
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- Astros Outright Lucas Harrell
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- Tommy John Surgery Likely For Ivan Nova
- Orioles To Designate Steve Pearce For Assignment
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- Yankees Outright Cesar Cabral
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Mark Reynolds Rumors
Last month, reliever Darin Downs found out the Astros had claimed him off waivers from the Tigers as he was driving his wife to deliver the couple's second child, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports. "I had a couple missed calls, a couple text messages. So I call one of the front office staff from the Tigers, he says, 'Oh, you've just been claimed by the Astros.' I'm like, 'All right, cool. I'm going to the hospital,'" Downs says. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- A year removed from their nightmarish 2012 season, the Red Sox are again a desirable team for free agents, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes. Some of that, Lauber notes, has to do with the team's willingness to spend money. The team also seems to have rehabilitated its reputation among players after reports of 2012 locker-room disarray. But another important consideration is simply that every season is different. "I always chuckle inside when you see the quote from a free agent, 'I want to go to a contender,'" says Jonny Gomes. "Oh, you mean the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008? Or the Oakland A’s in 2012? That contender? I know anything can happen. Every single year, good, bad and in between, is like an individual season. All you have to do is turn the page."
- Reliever Jim Hoey is trying to return to the big leagues, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes tweets. Hoey, who will be 31 next week, last appeared in the Majors in 2011, when he pitched in the Twins' bullpen. He is perhaps best known for being traded (with minor-leaguer Brett Jacobson) for J.J. Hardy and Brendan Harris in 2010. He pitched briefly in the Brewers' system in 2013, and also pitched in independent ball.
- The Nationals have a variety of extension candidates and may not have an easy time deciding how to handle them, writes Pete Kerzel of MASNsports.com. Pitcher Jordan Zimmermann and shortstop Ian Desmond are both open to extensions, Kerzel notes, but GM Mike Rizzo also needs to think about whether to extend Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg long-term (if that's practical — Scott Boras represents both of them, and one would think his demands would be through the roof). An extension for Zimmermann could exceed Matt Harrison's five-year, $55MM deal, possibly winding up somewhere near $85MM, Kerzel suggests. Both Zimmermann and Desmond can become eligible for free agency after the 2015 season.
- The decline in Jonathan Papelbon's stuff last season could make other teams reluctant to trade for him, and Jason Collette of Fangraphs shows exactly what went wrong. Papelbon's velocity dropped as the season progressed, which allowed batters to make more frequent contact with his fastball. Hitters also made more contact with his splitter when he left it in the zone. While Papelbon's superficial statistics (a 2.92 ERA and 29 saves) were reasonable, his peripheral numbers mark him as something like an average closer at this point. Since he's making $13MM a year, that's a problem, and it could be tricky for the Phillies to deal him.
- The Yankees have had talks with Mark Reynolds about a deal to return next season, but the corner infielder appears set to sign somewhere else, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports. Reynolds, 30, joined the Yankees in August after being released by the Indians, and hit .236/.300/.455 in 120 plate appearances, with characteristically high strikeout totals.
Earlier today, the Yankees reached agreements with both Brian Roberts and Matt Thornton.They're likely to continue adding pieces, however. A source confirmed to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (Twitter link) that the Yanks have spoken to Mark Reynolds' agent, though nothing is close on that front. Here's the latest on Reynolds, the Yankees and the Mets…
- The Yankees are in on Reynolds, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, but they'll face competition from the Twins, Angels and others in their attempt to land him.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have also expressed interest in Jeff Baker as a potential right-handed bat to get some time at second base and third base (Twitter link). Baker mashed against lefties in 2013, posting a .314/.407/.667 batting line with 10 homers.
- Daniel Murphy has seen his name in trade rumors this offseason, but he says his agents came away from the Winter Meetings with the impression that he'll be with the Mets in 2014, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Sources tell Rubin that the Mets continue to listen on Murphy, but the asking price is high.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson says that two to three teams are potential trade partners at shortstop, although the chances of Ruben Tejada starting Opening Day at the position are much better than at the end of the season, Rubin writes. "Well, I think it is more likely certainly than it was a couple of months ago, let's say," the GM said. "But we've improved the team at other positions. And so giving Ruben a chance to reestablish himself as an everyday player isn't such a bad thing. But we'll continue to monitor what's there from the trade market and conceivably free agency, although there really isn't much left there. There are two or three teams that are possibilities."
- Alderson also suggested he would be looking for an equivalent return to what others have received for trading first basemen. The Marlins got 23-year-old Carter Capps from the Mariners for Logan Morrison last week.
- The Mets GM expects a fifth-starter candidate to be signed on a minor-league deal. That would allow Jenrry Mejia, Jacob deGrom, and Rafael Montero to compete for a spot out of spring training and help ensure that top prospect Noah Syndergaard would not be blocked from a summer promotion.
- While it's not a huge surprise, Alderson downplayed the Mets' odds of landing Masahiro Tanaka.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Despite pitching just 28 1/3 innings in 2013, Gavin Floyd inked a one-year deal with the Braves yesterday that is worth $4MM and could reach $8.5MM via incentives. That's a fine payday for a mid-rotation arm coming off Tommy John surgery, but Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that Floyd could have been paid even more handsomely. According to Connolly, the Orioles offered Floyd a two-year deal that could have reached $20MM after incentives, but Floyd turned them down. Here's more out of the AL East…
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that there's no traction to trade talks between the Yankees and Mariners regarding Dustin Ackley (Twitter link).
- David Ortiz told WEEI.com's Rob Bradford that, contrary to reports, he and the Red Sox never made an agreement to hold off on discussing a new contract until the completion of his current two-year deal. Said Ortiz: "Why would I do that? I want to get a deal done." Ortiz and the Sox are discussing an extension.
- The Rays are interested in infielders Jamey Carroll and Mark Reynolds, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter).
The Rays are "casting a wide net" when it comes to their search for a first baseman, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). According to Heyman, Mark Reynolds is one available power hitter who is receiving some interest from Tampa Bay.
Although free agents like Reynolds and James Loney remain possibilities for the Rays, Loney's current asking price may be too high for the club, and Reynolds is certainly no sure thing, having posted a career-worst .699 OPS in 2013.
Tampa Bay has also been linked to a handful of potential trade candidates within the last few days, including Logan Morrison, Ike Davis, and Mitch Moreland. And when GM Andrew Friedman spoke to reporters in Orlando on Monday, he suggested that the Rays were meeting more with other teams than with agents.
Earlier today the Mets introduced Curtis Granderson at a press conference. Here's the latest news out of the New York market with the Winter Meetings in full swing…
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman spoke to several reporters today, including MLB.com's Bryan Hoch, and noted that he's been in contact with the agents for Mark Reynolds and Boone Logan (Twitter link).
- Hoch also tweets that the Yanks are receiving many calls on Brett Gardner but aren't shopping him. Cashman said he didn't sign Jacoby Ellsbury to trade Gardner.
- The Star-Ledger's Andy McCullough tweets that in addition to Gardner, the Yanks have received calls on Ivan Nova, Gary Sanchez and J.R. Murphy (Twitter link).
- Cashman also said that Michael Pineda is healthy and will compete for a rotation spot in Spring Training (Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News tweeting).
- Hoch adds that Cashman thinks it will be easier to sign a free agent pitcher than to work out a trade for rotation help.
- Newsday's David Lennon reports that the Mets will meet with the representatives for Freddy Garcia, Cesar Izturis and Johan Santana today (Twitter link). The team sees a good fit with that group of veterans.
- Granderson confirmed to reporters, including Newsday's Marc Carig, that the Mets were the lone team to offer four years (Twitter link).
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has lots of good stuff in this weekend's edition of Full Count. Here's a look at some of the highlights..
- The Cardinals' promotion of Kolten Wong could be the first step towards the club trading David Freese. Obviously, Freese isn't having a good year, but the free agent market at third base this offseason will be very thin this season and will be headlined by veterans such as Juan Uribe and Michael Young. Freese is under club control through 2015 and while he's not an All-Star, it's easy to see teams making a play for him.
- Mark Reynolds had interest from a number of clubs but he signed with the Yankees because they offered him the best opportunity of any interested club. The Orioles thought about a reunion, but he only would have DH'd against left-handed pitching. The Royals also thought about Reynolds, but they expect Mike Moustakas to come back soon from his calf injury and the Rangers checked in but didn't have an immediate major league opening.
- The Dodgers will be the x-factor in Robinson Cano's free agency and they could be spurred by their recent success to make a play for him. The Dodgers have been indicating that they won't spend like crazy forever and could dedicate their resources to new deals for Clayton Kershaw and Hanley Ramirez. However, they could also move one of their surplus outfielders and find the spare cash for the second baseman.
We'll begin a quiet morning in baseball with a few links from the American League …
- Mark Reynolds started his Yankee tenure with a bang, ripping a two-run homer, going two-for-five, and adding another RBI on the evening. As Mark Feinsand and Roger Rubin of the New York Daily News report, Reynolds and his new teammates and manager all seemed pleased with his signing after the game. The Yanks will hope that Reynolds catches one of his patented hot streaks down the stretch this year.
- The Angels' acquisition of young second baseman Grant Green in exchange for Alberto Callaspo is looking better and better in the eyes of MLB.com's Lyle Spencer (via Twitter). Spencer says that Green evidently has the kind of talent that it is worth taking a chance on. After an underwhelming (0-for-15) stint with the Athletics earlier this year, Green has been on fire early in his Angels tenure. In his 36 plate appearances with the Halos, Green has posted a .433/.528/.500 triple-slash.
- For his part, Callaspo's .229/.308/.371 line since joining the A's corresponds to the OPS+ mark (92) he put up in Anaheim this year. With his defensive metrics trending down, Callaspo seems unlikely to put up more than one win above replacement this season (whether measured by Fangraphs or Baseball Reference) for the first time since he became a regular. He will earn $4.875MM next season before becoming a free agent the following year.
The Yankees have agreed to terms with Mark Reynolds, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports. Heyman indicates that Reynolds will "help with their righthanded power," and indicates he'll be used to spell Alex Rodriguez at third and Lyle Overbay at first. If that's the case, Reynolds would likely play in place of the left-handed Overbay against lefty starters.
The Indians released Reynolds on Monday after he hit .207/.315/.373 in 384 plate appearances this season. Cleveland signed Reynolds to a one-year, $6MM deal in the offseason, and they're still on the hook for the bulk of what's left of that contract — the Yankees will only have to pay Reynolds a pro-rated league-minimum salary.
The 30-year-old Reynolds has 196 career big-league home runs, but has struggled with strikeouts throughout his career. His 223 whiffs in 2009 are the most ever in a season, and he has had two other seasons in the top five all time. As Reynolds has aged, his strikeouts have led to difficulties posting respectable batting averages, and the low averages and weak defense have offset his prodigious power.
Last week we learned that the Marlins never got to the point where they received specific names in trade proposals for Giancarlo Stanton in July. Four high-ranking officials shot down a rumored blockbuster proposal from the Pirates involving Starling Marte and Gerrit Cole in conversations with MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. Here's more out of Miami, courtesy of Frisaro..
- It's too early to determine whether the Marlins will attempt to sign Cuban defector Jose Dariel Abreu, Frisaro says. The team employs two young Cubans – pitcher Jose Fernandez and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria – but Abreu could ask for a deal in the vicinity of six years and $54MM.
- At last in the majors in runs scored, the Marlins are clearly on the hunt for bats to bolster their lineup, according to Frisaro. The Fish have discussed Mark Reynolds, whom the Indians recently requested release waivers for and whom the club considered at last year's Winter Meetings. However, it's thought that he'd be a better fit with an AL team.
- Abreu could be an option this offseason because Miami isn't expected to pursue established players on the free agent market, but the club could also offer pitching prospects in a trade for a power hitter, Frisaro suggests. However, starters Fernandez, Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez and Jacob Turner are untouchable. The Marlins appear to be targeting a hitting catcher, Frisaro says.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Let's have a look around the American League:
- Angels starter Tommy Hanson has been optioned to Triple-A to make room for Jason Vargas, tweets MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. Hanson came to the team last November in a deal that sent reliever Jordan Walden to the Braves. While Walden has prospered in Atlanta, Hanson sports an unsightly 5.59 ERA over 67 2/3 innings and has seen his strikeout rate fall from a career-high 9.8 K/9 to 6.9 K/9 this season. Hanson received $3.725MM in 2013, his first year of arbitration eligibility. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noted in late May that Hanson was not a likely non-tender candidate, but could price himself into a trade. At this stage, while he won't likely command a major raise, it is reasonable to ask whether Hanson will be tendered a contract by the Angels.
- The Mariners could try to lure Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury to Seattle, writes FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. The M's have a shade over $33MM on the books for next season, a young core of low-cost regulars already in the stable, and a hole in the middle of the outfield. A return to the Pacific Northwest for the Oregonian Ellsbury could make sense for both sides, Rosenthal suggests. In the midst of a nice bounce-back season at the age of 29, Ellsbury looks to have a strong hold on the number two spot in Dierkes's 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings.
- The Orioles have discussed bringing back Mark Reynolds and will continue to do so, says manager Buck Showalter. As MASN's Roch Kubatko tweets, Showalter did note that "we like our roster." Reynolds would cost nothing more than a roster spot and the league minimum salary, however, since he was placed on release waivers by the Indians earlier today.
- This could be the last season for White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, writes Scot Gregor of the Daily Herald. Konerko has suffered through a down year (for himself and his team), has an expiring contract, and has dealt with lower back issues. Gregor notes that Konerko has previously indicated no interest in holding on "just to chase some numbers," and guesses that he'll ultimately decide to hang it up this fall.