Mark Loretta Rumors
Loretta finishes with a .295/.360/.395 line in 6,558 plate appearances across 15 seasons for the Brewers, Astros, Padres, Red Sox, and Dodgers. He mainly played second base, but also logged significant innings at the other three infield positions. Loretta appeared in two All-Star games and finished ninth in the NL MVP vote in '04, when he hit .335/.391/.495 for the Padres. According to Baseball-Reference, Loretta banked $29.4MM in his career.
More Saturday linkage..
- Ty Wigginton of the Orioles will likely see his number of at-bats decrease after the team's signing of Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins. Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com says that the 32-year-old could be a trade candidate in Spring Training.
- The sale of the Rangers to Chuck Greenberg's group is complete and an announcement is forthcoming, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
- Phil Wood of MASNSports.com understands the Nats' pursuit of Orlando Hudson, but not their reported interest in Orlando Cabrera. Hudson is reportedly seeking $9MM per season whereas Mike Axisa estimates that Cabrera can be had for $3MM.
- Veteran infielder Mark Loretta is expected to retire this week and take a job with an unspecified major league club, writes Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. The 38-year-old, who spent 2009 with the Dodgers, has a career .754 OPS.
- Brian McTaggart of MLB.com writes that signing Hunter Pence to one-year, $3.5MM deal makes sense for Houston. McTaggart senses that there is some kind of a groundswell of support by Astros fans to lock up the 26-year-old, but the club still has three years of contractual control to make such a deal happen.
- Signing Brad Penny saved money for the Cardinals, writes Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. While it may seem as though Penny's $7.5MM deal is similar to Joel Pineiro's two-year deal that will pay him an average of $8MM per season, the extra year on Pineiro's contract didn't fit into the Cards' budget.
- Due in part to the team's overload of left field options, top Reds prospect Todd Frazier could see some time at shortstop this season, writes John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Frazier played shortstop in his time at Rutgers University but was moved to the outfield as he was considered to be "too big for the spot." GM Walt Jocketty said that there will be open competition for the role of starting shortstop, though Fay says that it will likely go to the light-hitting Paul Janish.
The Dodgers signed veteran infielder Jamey Carroll to a two-year deal, as first reported by ESPN's Buster Olney. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports specified the contract's value as $3.85MM. Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times says there's another $500K in incentives. Carroll reportedly drew interest from eight teams this winter.
Carroll hit .276/.355/.340 in 358 plate appearances with Cleveland last season, playing mostly as a second baseman but also seeing significant time at third base and in the outfield. His versatility makes him particularly attractive to the Dodgers, since they stand to lose multiple infielders to free agency and Carroll would fill any number of holes on the bench or in the starting lineup should Blake DeWitt struggle as the everyday second baseman.
Where did the cash-strapped Dodgers get the money for Carroll? Hernandez notes that the infielder's funds came from the money GM Ned Colletti saved by shipping Juan Pierre to the White Sox. Colletti quickly spent about half of the Pierre savings on Carroll.
This post has been rewritten by Tim Dierkes.
MLB.com's Tom Singer tells us that Billy Beane will focus primarily on short-term free agents this offseason as the club's key minor league players continue to develop:
- Beane states that while a young third baseman or shortstop would be their first choice to acquire, they can look to free agents to fill the holes. Singer mentions Juan Uribe, Jamey Carroll, Ramon Martinez, Troy Glaus, Mark Loretta, and Fernando Tatis. Ramon Martinez... really? Interesting to see Beane mention a young third baseman after landing Brett Wallace earlier this year.
- Beane explicitly states that the A's do not plan to be aggressive on the trade market, citing a desire to keep their young players.
- Beane doesn't plan on holding out to see if the free agent pool expands after the non-tender deadline: "It never turns into the market that we anticipate. People expect more than what is usually delivered in terms of available players." Singer speculates that this is partly posturing though, so as not to cause any other GMs to second-guess their decision to non-tender someone.
SI.com's Jon Heyman has a new column up...
- Heyman writes in praise of White Sox GM Ken Williams, who says, "People don't really understand our way, our method."
- Heyman names his top 13 contracts, from an agent point of view. Barry Meister appears twice, with Edgar Renteria and Kyle Farnsworth. Scott Shapiro and Barry Praver get two mentions (Willy Taveras and Juan Cruz), and Scott Boras has three (Derek Lowe, Mark Teixeira, and Willie Bloomquist).
- Heyman writes of "talk at Dodgers camp" about possible Yankee interest in Mark Loretta (you may recall their consideration of him as a first base candidate in 2007). Loretta would have to consent to a trade, and keep in mind Brian Cashman's comments yesterday.
- The Indians may have sufficient depth in young position players to make a trade for pitching.
- Heyman speaks of optimism for an extension for Angels ace John Lackey, since the team was able to hammer out his '06 contract with agent Steve Hilliard.
WEDNESDAY, 6:22pm: Kovacevic says Doumit's agent will meet with the Pirates later tonight to discuss their offer. Rob Biertempfel says the Pirates did make offers to all three and want to finalize deals within six to eight weeks.
TUESDAY, 11:28pm: Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette offers up the latest information on the Pirates.
- The Pirates have initiated extension talks with Nate McLouth, Ryan Doumit, and Paul Maholm. The Braves inquired on McLouth and Maholm, but the Pirates' demands were "way high" according to an Atlanta official. Kovacevic mentions Jordan Schafer as someone who could be offered.
- The Pirates had conversations with David Eckstein's agent, but not negotiations. The Bucs would probably have to trade a middle infielder for it to make sense. They never made a formal offer to Mark Loretta, who signed with the Dodgers today.
- The Jack Wilson market is tepid - the Twins have mild interest, the Dodgers have moved on to Rafael Furcal.
- While the Pirates have gotten inquiries on John Grabow, teams apparently want to look at free agent options first.
- John Perrotto says Jason Davis will refuse the Pirates' Triple A assignment and head to Japan.
WEDNESDAY: The Dodgers officially announced Loretta's one-year deal, which is for $1.25MM.
MONDAY: According to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick, the Dodgers agreed to terms with Mark Loretta on a one-year deal worth around $1.4MM tonight. He'll take his physical on Tuesday. Loretta was a Type B free agent, but the Astros did not offer him arbitration so there will be no draft pick compensation.
8:55pm: There's also a club option for a fourth year.
7:51pm: Tony Jackson says it's $17.5MM over three years for Blake.
TUESDAY, 12:28pm: ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Dodgers have reached an agreement with Blake for three years and slightly more than $17.1MM. The Twins apparently offered two years, $14MM. He adds that Mark Loretta's deal is for one year and $1.25MM.
9:47pm: Jayson Stark says the Dodgers are inching toward a Blake deal, but only have two guaranteed years on the table.
8:05pm: Jackson now says a three-year, $17MM deal with Blake could be announced tonight.
7:09pm: Tony Jackson says the Dodgers are not close to signing Blake, though Colletti sounds more hopeful. Dylan Hernandez says the Dodgers offered Blake three years at nearly $6MM per, and could get an answer tonight.
4:40pm: Colletti hinted to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick that his offer for Blake is for three years. Also, second baseman Orlando Hudson is apparently not on the Dodgers' radar.
3:10pm: Yahoo's Tim Brown says the Dodgers raised their offer to three years and are nearing an agreement with Blake.
12:55pm: According to Ken Rosenthal, the Dodgers are waiting to hear back from Casey Blake about a recent offer. They should hear his decision today. Blake is reportedly seeking three guaranteed years.
8:10pm: Piecoro says the D'Backs don't want to trade Snyder; in fact, they'd like to extend him.
Piecoro notes talks with Eddie Guardado, but they didn't go far. And Japanese lefty Ken Takahashi is not on Arizona's radar.
7:20pm: The D'Backs have discussed a contract with Tony Clark for '09, says Gilbert.
6:20pm: Rosenthal says the D'Backs want to trade the more pricey Snyder to clear a path for Montero. They could then ink a Gregg Zaun type to back him up.
3:30pm: Gilbert says the D'Backs have a one-year offer out to Loretta.
3:18pm: MLB.com's Steve Gilbert says the D'Backs have not resumed talks with Randy Johnson.
12:12pm: Piecoro says talks between the D'Backs and Mark Loretta have advanced in recent days. They've made a "significant overture" according to Loretta's agent.
- Piecoro dissects the D'Backs' thought process behind their decision not to offer arbitration to Type A free agent Adam Dunn. He notes that their rumored two-year offer to Dunn was "more of an exploratory offer, nothing formal." They'll stay in touch with Dunn in case the market is not to his liking.
- Free agent targets: Nick Punto, Arthur Rhodes, and the aforementioned Joe Beimel.
- Punto is one of many candidates for second base. Ramon Vazquez was the top target, but he was two guaranteed years rather than one with an option.
- Piecoro wonders if the D'Backs might now be able to scrape together another $3MM or so for Randy Johnson, given the Dunn draft pick savings and Brandon Lyon's decision to decline arb.
THURSDAY: David Lennon of Newsday talked to a source who said there's "nothing there" in regard to the rumor of a Dye and Jenks to the Mets blockbuster. Joel Sherman talked to a few Mets officials who called the rumor nonsense. Sherman says Martinez is "all but untouchable."
WEDNESDAY: Let's dig into the latest column from John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus.
- Perrotto speaks of whispers of a possible White Sox-Mets blockbuster. The Mets would receive Jermaine Dye and Bobby Jenks and the White Sox would receive Fernando Martinez among others.
- Regarding the Orioles' possible involvement in a trade that would send Jake Peavy to the Cubs, Perrotto says Baltimore seeks Ronny Cedeno and Felix Pie from Chicago.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has spoken to outfielder Jayson Werth and setup man Ryan Madson about contract extensions. Madson might be a tough one as he's represented by Scott Boras (who recently compared him to Mariano Rivera). Both players are under team control for one more season.
- The Red Sox are considering free agents Willie Bloomquist, Jay Payton, and Mark Loretta as possible bench additions. A return to Boston seems to be Payton's preference.
- Perrotto believes the only player seriously considering accepting arbitration is Darren Oliver. Oliver's already seen the Reds drop out of the mix due to the draft pick price.
- Perrotto says the Tigers and Orioles are showing interest in Jack Wilson, while the Dodgers have backed off.