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Martin Prado Rumors
The Braves will attempt to re-sign infielder/outfielder Martin Prado to a multiyear extension, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Atlanta views Prado as its heir apparent to Chipper Jones at third base, Olney explains. Jones, of course, is slated to retire at the conclusion of this season.
Prado, 29 in October, is due for another round of arbitration eligibility after this season and is scheduled to be a free agent after the 2013 campaign. The right-handed hitter owns a solid .297/.346/.437 career batting line, although with modest power (47 homers in 2,489 career plate appearances entering Tuesday night's action). Prado can also play several positions in the field, with most of his work this season coming in left field, although it sounds as if the Braves have designs on him becoming their full-time third baseman.
Because of his unique profile, it's tough to find a strong comparison for Prado in terms of contracts recently doled out to third basemen. Aramis Ramirez, older than Prado but boasting more power, got three years and $36MM from the Brewers last offseason, so Prado and his representatives at Peter E. Greenberg & Associates might seek something comparable to kick in after 2013.
The Diamondbacks are willing to listen to offers for Justin Upton, but they’re not looking for prospects. "We're still in win mode,” GM Kevin Towers told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. We’ll track the latest rumors on Upton here with the most recent updates up top.
- Olney suggests the Braves could be a fit for Upton (Twitter links). Atlanta could build a deal around third baseman/outfielder Martin Prado and pitching prospects, Olney writes. Upton would balance the Braves' lineup and provide the team with cost certainty going forward, Olney adds.
- The Diamondbacks believe they could obtain a package of perhaps three players for Upton, Piecoro writes. Towers said he’s not shopping the right fielder, but will listen in case an enticing offer emerges. “Clubs have asked; I've said, 'Hey, tell me what you would do.' We could either say yes or say no," the GM told Piecoro.
- The Rangers could make sense as a suitor for Upton, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney suggests (all Twitter links). The Diamondbacks could be interested in third base prospect Mike Olt and the Rangers could like the idea of adding outfield depth with Josh Hamilton headed toward free agency.
- Upton has no-trade protection that allows him to block deals to some big-market teams, including the Yankees, according to Olney.
The city of Montreal will pay tribute to former Expos great Gary Carter by naming a street or other public place in his honor, reports Linda Gyulai of the Montreal Gazette. City officials will consult with the Carter family to find an "appropriate" location to bear the Hall of Famer catcher's name. Carter passed away last Thursday after a lengthy battle with brain cancer.
Some news from around the majors….
- Jim Callis of Baseball America breaks down how much each team will have to spend in the first 10 rounds of the 2012 draft. The Twins top the list, able to spend as much as $12.37MM to sign their 13 picks over the initial 10 rounds, while the Angels ($1.645MM) have the least to spend on their eight picks over the same stretch.
- The draft pool totals will shift if Derrek Lee — the last free agent with compensation attached to him — signs a Major League deal with a new team. As Callis notes, however, it's pretty unlikely that Lee will find such a deal at this point.
- The Pirates and Phillies both passed on signing Dmitri Young after working him out in Florida this months, reports MLB.com's Matthew Leach. Even if Young's baseball comeback falls short, he says the real victory is his improved health, having lost over 70 pounds.
- Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado are both pleased to still be Braves after a long winter of trade rumors surrounding both men, reports MLB.com's Mark Bowman.
- Ivan Rodriguez isn't prepared to retire and is keeping in shape for a possible job this season, he tells the Associated Press. "It has been a tough market for veterans," Rodriguez said. "There are a lot of guys who have won championships and have playoff experience to offer teams with no jobs. It's hard to believe.''
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.
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.