Martin Prado Rumors
The Braves have agreed to a one-year, $4.75MM contract with Martin Prado, avoiding arbitration with the infielder, reports MLB.com's Mark Bowman (both Twitter links). The $4.75MM figure was slightly higher than the $4.4MM projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz as Prado's 2012 salary. Prado, a client of Peter E. Greenberg & Associates, was going through the arb process for the second time.
Prado is coming off a disappointing .260/.302/.385 season for Atlanta, but he has been the subject of several trade rumors this winter, with the Rockies, Orioles, and Royals just a few of the clubs attached to the versatile 28-year-old. Prado played mostly left field in 2011, but has experience all over the infield, particularly at second (before the Braves acquired Dan Uggla) and third (where Prado proved valuable as a fill-in for Chipper Jones last year). Atlanta GM Frank Wren, however, said last week that he believed Prado would still be a Brave by the start of Spring Training.
With Prado's contract settled, the Braves still have three remaining arb-eligible players --- Michael Bourn, Jair Jurrjens and Eric O'Flaherty. You can track all of this winter's arb cases on the MLBTR Arbitration Tracker.
Some links as Thursday turns into Friday...
- As part of his comeback attempt, Manny Ramirez will work out for teams later this month according to ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter). Manny was officially reinstated last month, and he indicated that the "doors are open" for a minor league contract.
- Braves GM Frank Wren told MLB.com's Mark Bowman that he feels both Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado will be with the team at the start of Spring Training. They still have interest in Adam Jones and could continue to pursue the outfielder if the Orioles lower their demands.
- The Yankees never inquired on lefty reliever Darren Oliver before he signed with the Blue Jays, reports MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith (on Twitter). New York has brought in southpaws Hideki Okajima and Mike O'Connor on minor league deals this offseason.
- Miguel Tejada is training in Miami as he looks to make a comeback, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). The 37-year-old was designated for assignment by the Giants in August after hitting .239/.270/.326 in 343 plate appearances.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America recapped the last three weeks of minor league transactions. We've covered all the significant moves here, but you can check out which low-level minor leaguers your favorite team recently released.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post shared a number of Rockies tidbits with his Twitter followers this afternoon. Here are a few of the hot stove-related highlights...
- There hasn't been much movement in the Martin Prado trade negotiations between the Rockies and Braves but talks aren't "dead" since Atlanta likes outfielder Seth Smith. It would take a package of both Smith and center field prospect Tim Wheeler to acquire Prado but Renck says the Rockies "aren't doing" that particular deal.
- Colorado still has an interest in Jair Jurrjens, but the Braves' asking price could be "prohibitive" in the wake of what the Padres received from the Reds in the Mat Latos deal. The Rockies like Jurrjens "but aren't trading four guys for him."
- If Smith is dealt, Ryan Spilborghs' return to Colorado is "not necessarily" a given. Spilborghs was non-tendered by the Rockies earlier this month but we heard from Renck earlier this month that the club was interested in bringing the outfielder back at a lower salary than what he would've earned through arbitration.
- There is "very little" going on between the Rockies and Cody Ross, as the team is concentrating on finding pitching. Yesterday, a team source denied a Buster Olney report that the Rockies were in contract negotiations with Ross, though Olney specified that Colorado was only interested in Ross in the event that Smith is traded.
- Renck is "not sure" if the Rockies still have any interest in Paul Maholm. The Rockies and Cubs are the only two clubs known to be connected to Maholm this winter. The Cubs can possibly be counted out of the running due to their recent acquisition of Travis Wood, but more spots could open in the Chicago rotation should Matt Garza and/or Randy Wells be dealt.
- The Mariners' interest in Kevin Millwood won't affect the Rockies' pursuit of the veteran right-hander, as the Rockies only "see Millwood at [a] certain price." Of a group of pitchers that also includes Maholm, Jurrjens and Jeff Francis, Renck feels Millwood is the likeliest to join the Rockies.
- Colorado has been one of baseball's busiest teams this offseason, which Renck says is a reflection of the club's "great disappointment with last season" rather than any sense of 2012 being a "final chance" for GM Dan O'Dowd.
The Braves and Orioles discussed a possible Adam Jones trade recently, but talks didn’t progress far, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (all Twitter links). The Orioles wanted Jair Jurrjens, Martin Prado and at least two of Brandon Beachy, Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino and Randall Delgado. The Braves weren’t interested at that price, Crasnick writes.
Conflicting reports about the Braves’ interest level in Jones emerged yesterday, but it appears some preliminary discussions occurred. Orioles GM Dan Duquette joined Jim Bowden and Casey Stern on MLB Network Radio this week and explained that the Orioles are trying to "build around" Jones. "When you have some good players, other teams are interested," he said. "We're not marketing Adam Jones." However, he stopped short of guaranteeing that Jones would stay put.
The Braves made a run at Orioles outfielder Adam Jones earlier this month, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Connolly reports that Atlanta offered Jair Jurrjens, Martin Prado, and a pitching prospect for Jones, but the O's "didn't bite," indicating how much they value their center fielder.
However, a source familiar with the negotiations tells Mark Bowman of MLB.com that the Braves merely expressed interest in Jones and did not offer any particular package. The O's told the Braves that Jones was unavailable, Bowman adds, then got back to the Braves later and asked for Jurrjens, Prado and "two other premium guys," which the Braves declined.
It was reported earlier in the month that the Orioles and Braves talked about Jurrjens and Prado, though it hadn't been confirmed that Jones was also discussed. Here are the rest of this morning's Orioles notes:
- Connolly and Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com both address a report indicating the Orioles are in on Prince Fielder, concluding that Fielder coming to Baltimore is an extreme long-shot unless his asking price drops significantly.
- Although the Orioles are looking for starting pitching and Roy Oswalt is reportedly willing to accept a one-year contract, the righty probably isn't a realistic target for Baltimore. The O's play in the wrong ballpark and wrong division for Oswalt to boost his stock on a make-good deal, says Connolly.
- Connolly adds that the Orioles continue to discuss Wei-Yin Chen internally and externally.
Ed Wade is heading back to the NL East after four years in Houston. Here are more links from the division, starting with Wade’s longtime team...
- Mark DeRosa says he's interested in playing for the Nationals, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson (Twitter links). However, other teams are interested and DeRosa is not close to making a decision.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says he's comfortable heading into Spring Training with the team he has, according to Paul Hagen of MLB.com. The Phillies have already made major free agent signings, added complementary players such as Laynce Nix, Jim Thome and Dontrelle Willis and signed players to minor league deals, as our Free Agent Tracker shows.
- Those who know Cole Hamels doubt he would give the Phillies much of a discount on a potential extension, according to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. The 27-year-old John Boggs & Associates client posted a 2.79 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 and a 52.3% ground ball rate in 215 innings this past season. He's set to hit free agency after the 2012 season (MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a $14MM salary for Hamels in his final season of arbitration eligibility).
- Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com shows that the Mets already have a projected payroll in the $90MM range. GM Sandy Alderson has suggested the team's payroll could be less than $100MM, so the Mets may not have much offseason shopping remaining.
- The Mets are interested in catcher Luis Martinez, who was designated for assignment by the Padres on Sunday, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post (on Twitter). The 26-year-old hit .203/.309/.305 in 68 plate appearances with the Padres this past season.
- The Braves and Rockies have continued discussing a possible deal that would send Seth Smith to Atlanta for Martin Prado, according to MLB.com's Thomas Harding. The Braves appear to be seeing what they can get for Jair Jurrjens first, however. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports examined possible suitors for Smith earlier today, including the Braves despite their preference for a right-handed hitter.
The Orioles and Braves have discussed a deal that included both righty Jair Jurrjens and infielder/outfielder Martin Prado, reported Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports yesterday. However, the FOX writers find it unlikely that the Braves would package both chips in one trade.
Jurrjens, 25, posted a 2.96 ERA, 5.3 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 0.83 HR/9, and 42% groundball rate in 152 innings this year, missing time with oblique and knee injuries. His skills continue to suggest an ERA around 4.40, and he's only reached 190 innings once, but sub-3.00 ERAs in '09 and '11 may have allowed Jurrjens' reputation as a front-end starter to persist. The Orioles don't seem to be in a position to move significant young players for two years of Jurrjens, despite their current rotation uncertainty.
Some links as Tuesday turns into Wednesday...
- The Red Sox have not yet made catcher and captain Jason Varitek a contract offer, reports Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Boston added Kelly Shoppach to Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway on Tuesday, a move that likely spelled the end of Varitek's time with the Sox.
- There are clubs with interest in trading for both Gio Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey and others with interest in both Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado, but Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the Athletics and Braves are likely to deal their players separately to maximize the return. Rosenthal and Morosi note that the Braves and Orioles have discussed a deal that included both Jurrjens and Prado.
- Interest in free agent closer Francisco Cordero has slowed down, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). His market could hinge on how clubs fill their other roster holes.
- The Pirates still have interest in first baseman Derrek Lee even after trading for Casey McGehee, reports CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman (on Twitter). Bringing Lee back at first base would allow them to use McGehee at the hot corner with Pedro Alvarez.
- Heyman hears that the Angels put a deadline on their ten-year, $254MM offer to Albert Pujols (Twitter link). The deal did seem to come together very quickly Wednesday night into Thursday morning last week.
- The Rockies do have some money to spend according to Heyman (on Twitter). In addition to Carlos Beltran and Michael Cuddyer, they also have interest in Hiroki Kuroda, Joe Saunders, and various trade targets.
- Morosi says (on Twitter) that Andruw Jones could also be an option for the Rockies if Beltran and Cuddyer sign elsewhere.
- The Cardinals' interest in pitching upgrades is "understated," reports Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). Both Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook remain on the trade block.
- The Yokohama Bay Stars have released right-hander Hiroki Sanada so that he may pursue a deal in MLB according to a report passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. No teams bid on Sanada when he was posted last week.
- The Astros and Rays are possibilities for Ivan Rodriguez, according to Heyman (on Twitter). Though the Mets have discussed Rodriguez, they’re leaning toward relying on Mike Nickeas as their backup to starter Josh Thole.
- MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner says the Joint Drug Agreement should provide Ryan Braun with privacy and fair proceedings. “I urge all to reserve judgment on this matter until the JDA's process has played itself out," Weiner said in a statement.
Even with GM Frank Wren saying a significant trade isn't necessary this winter, MLB.com's Mark Bowman writes that scouts and executives from other Major League teams are still getting the sense that the Braves will move Jair Jurrjens or Martin Prado this offseason.
A trade wouldn't necessarily have to come at the Winter Meeting. As Bowman points out, Jurrjens may fetch a larger bounty once names like C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle are off the market. Interested clubs figure to take a longer look if they miss out on their top free agent targets, and the Braves will then have more leverage.
Wren continues to say that he doesn't need to make a trade for payroll purposes, but Bowman notes that moving either player would save the club in the neighborhood of $5MM. Matt Swartz's projections with MLBTR have Jurrjens at $5.1MM and Prado at $4.4MM.
Last night, Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reported that half of the teams in baseball were interested in Prado, and 8-10 teams had come calling on Jurrjens.
Some Winter Meetings rumors courtesy of CBS Sports' Danny Knobler:
- Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado continue to be "as sought after as any players" on the trade market. Atlanta has received calls from 8-10 teams on Jurrjens and "half the teams in baseball" on Prado. Most see Prado as a second base upgrade. The Braves continue to say they don't need to move either player.
- It's been well-documented that the White Sox could trade any combination of John Danks, Gavin Floyd, and Carlos Quentin this offseason, but Knobler says they'll listen on Gordon Beckham as well. Many Sox officials are hesitant to concede to rebuilding, despite the fact that GM Ken Williams used that exact word last month.
- If the Tigers are going to make a big free agent signing, it's more likely to be Yoenis Cespedes than anyone else.
- The Rays are open to trading Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis to improve the offense. They're also looking to deal Reid Brignac and upgrade their catching.