Mason Williams Rumors
While much has been made of the Yankees' lack of infield depth in 2014, Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out that the depth beyond this coming season is even more concerning. Of the team's starting infielders, only Mark Teixeira is under contract after 2014, and they have little in the way of MLB-ready replacements within the organization. As such, Sherman reports that when scouting other clubs, the Yankees aren't looking for platoon partners for Kelly Johnson or Brian Roberts; they're looking for a "500 at-bat" type of player who could start in 2015. Rival scouts are focusing on the Yankees' catchers, and a deal centered around Francisco Cervelli and Gordon Beckham "is not impossible," writes Sherman. He adds that Mason Williams could be a trade chip with the Yankees' outfield now locked in for the foreseeable future.
Here are some more links pertaining to the AL East...
- Asked by MLB.com's Paul Hagen about the possibility of being traded, Cervelli replied: "I don't know. I've been here forever. I don't have that answer, because I feel right now like this is my house. But if somebody wants me to go over there, I've got to make the adjustment, you know?" Cervelli added that his dream has always been to be a starting catcher, but he accepts his role as a backup to Brian McCann. Manager Joe Girardi told Hagen that he feels Cervelli could be a starter for another organization, praising Cervelli's development offensively and defensively.
- Hagen also writes that Michael Pineda has made a good impression with the Yankees this spring, but manager Joe Girardi suggested that he'd be on an innings limit if he won the fifth starter's job. "Let's just say, hypothetically, he was a starter at some point," Girardi said to Hagen. "You're going to have to adjust. Because you're not getting 200 innings from him." Pineda shrugged off Girardi's comments when asked about them, stating that he knows it's Girardi's choice to make, and he's simply preparing himself to be ready to pitch every fifth day.
- Stephen Drew tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that doesn't know where he's going to be playing in 2014, but he's confident that a club will sign him and that he can help the team win. Drew is working out with fellow free agent Kendrys Morales at the Scott Boras Training Institute in Miami and says he feels he is coming off his best defensive season in the Majors. He'd love to return to Boston, but acknowledges that he can see why the team wants to give Xander Bogaerts a long look at shortstop. Drew doesn't say it directly, but he hints at his displeasure with the qualifying offer/compensatory draft pick system.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com hears from scouts outside the Orioles organization that Baltimore is on the hunt for a backup catcher. The club has yet to commit to choosing solely betwee Steve Clevenger and Johnny Monell for that distinction. Kubatko writes that manager Buck Showalter feels the decision will ultimately come down to defense.
Here's the latest from Joel Sherman of The New York Post...
- The Mets are making progress, albeit slowly, in contract talks with David Wright and R.A. Dickey. The impression is that there is still a substantial gap in talks with Dickey, and they've been gauging his trade value during the GM Meetings. They are not doing the same with Wright, however.
- The Yankees would not do a two-year deal worth $20MM or so for Torii Hunter since they want to get under the luxury tax threshold next year. They are fixated on one-year contracts this offseason and could fill their right field hole with a low-cost platoon.
- "The Yankees are not on him," said a source about Justin Upton, in part because they're unsure if he's a good fit for New York (Twitter link). The Rangers and Rays are strongest early players for Upton, and Sherman gets the sense that the D'Backs want to act quickly (Twitter links).
- The Diamondbacks want high-end, MLB ready players in return for Upton and would love to get Jurickson Profar or (more likely) Elvis Andrus from the Rangers. They don't love Mike Olt, however (Twitter links). GM Kevin Towers likes Yankees prospect Mason Williams, but he is several years away from the show and unlikely to be enough to headline a trade package (all Twitter links).
- Next year's crop of free agent starting pitchers is weak, which could benefit Zack Greinke since teams won't be able to find a stopgap and reassess next year. Josh Johnson and Tim Lincecum highlight next winter's pitching crop, and both come with question marks.
- The Mariners, who have young pitching, are said to be talking to the Royals and Twins, who have young hitting. Seattle would love to pry Wil Myers, Aaron Hicks, and/or Ben Revere loose.
- Jason Bay didn't produce with the Mets, but he lived up to his billing as a hard worker and good teammate. Sherman expects the outfielder to take a low-salary, change of scenery deal (Twitter link).
- Mets officials think Scott Hairston will get a two-year deal worth between $8-10MM this winter.
Here's the latest from the AL West...
- The Rangers may be trying to trade Koji Uehara to clear payroll space for not necessarily Roy Oswalt, but rather a left-handed reliever like Mike Gonzalez, tweets FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. We heard last month that Texas was interested in Gonzalez. Both Uehara and Gonzalez were acquired by Texas in separate trades with the Orioles last summer, but while Gonzalez pitched for the Rangers throughout their playoff run, Uehara struggled in the ALDS and ALCS and was left off the World Series roster. Uehara, who has a limited no-trade clause, already rejected one deal that would've sent him to the Blue Jays.
- MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez looks at various scenarios facing the Angels surrounding Mark Trumbo's ability to play third base and Kendrys Morales' health.
- The Mariners have two players on their 40-man roster who are out of options: Mike Carp and Cesar Jimenez. As MLB.com's Greg Johns explains, Luis Rodriguez is also out of options but, as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training, he isn't on Seattle's 40-man roster.
- Also from Johns' mailbag piece, he doesn't think the Mariners need to sign a veteran DH like Johnny Damon or Vladimir Guerrero, arguing that the playing time is better served for young players like Carp, Jesus Montero and Casper Wells.
- The Mariners inquired about Yankees prospect Mason Williams during the Michael Pineda trade talks, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). Williams, a 20-year-old center fielder, enjoyed a breakout campaign at low Class-A Staten Island last season, hitting .349/.395/.468 in just his second year of pro ball. Heyman is "hearing raves" about Williams' potential.
Some New York links for you die-hards/insomniacs/early-risers on the East coast...
- Newsday's Ken Davidoff feels that public relations needs to stop being such a factor in the Mets' thinking. His plan for 2012 consists of keeping Angel Pagan and Mike Pelfrey, and signing Frank Francisco to close. If and when they're out of it in July, Davidoff feels Pagan and Pelfrey, along with a solid bullpen arm like Francisco and a revitalized David Wright would fetch a plentiful bounty.
- The Mets' lengthy shopping list consists of a closer, setup man, utility infielder, two backup outfielders, and a catcher, according to Jon Heyman of the MLB Network (on Twitter). Heyman says the largest expenditure for the Amazins will be the closer.
- On a related note, Heyman tweets that the Mets will speak with Jason Isringhausen, though their offer won't be overwhelming.
- In his latest article, Joel Sherman of the New York Post says that some within the Yankees organization feel that 20-year-old center fielder Mason Williams has emerged as their top prospect. While he's yet to even reach High-A ball, Mason possess five tools and the Yankees expect him to develop quickly.
- Sherman also notes that of the three teams that inquired on Daniel Murphy earlier today, the Tigers are the most interested. They view Murphy as a potential third base replacement for Brandon Inge.