Matt Murton Rumors
Matt Murton and Randy Messenger are close to extensions with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan, Kyodo News reports. It's possible that both could have drawn interest from major league teams, as each was excellent in 2013 for the Tigers. Murton, who had a nice .297/.365/.444 campaign all the way back in 2006 with the Cubs, led Japan's Central League in hits in 2013 for the third time in four seasons. Here's a look at the latest from MLB's Central divisions:
- Cubs hitting coach James Rowson will leave for the Yankees organization, a source tells Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Rowson, who was named the Cubs' top hitting instructor in June 2012, will assume the title of minor league hitting coordinator in the Bronx.
- Rick Renteria's journeyman career included stops in four organizations and three tours in Mexican baseball, Gonzales writes in a profile of the new Cubs manager. Padres first base coach Dave Roberts had high praise for his former colleague, commenting that "there's not a player who has come across Rick Renteria and hasn't gotten better."
- Gonzales and Colleen Kane, also of the Tribune, preview the offseasons ahead for the Cubs and their South Side neighbors. In the article, Cubs President Theo Epstein reiterated that free agent signings must help the Cubs both now and in the future. "We wish there were a free agent market for young players ... There's not," Epstein lamented. While the Cubs' strategy is to bide time and wait for "that one guy who might make sense," the front office may target a starter or bullpen help this offseason, Epstein adds.
- While the White Sox's signing of Jose Dariel Abreu in October will likely be their largest offseason move, they must still address team legend Paul Konerko's status with the club, Kane and Gonzales write. Catching also looms as a prominent need for the Sox, and could be addressed via the trade market. As the article notes, the Blue Jays are believed to have interest in second baseman Gordon Beckham.
- The Twins will have to add minor leaguer A.J. Achter to their 40-man roster by Nov. 20 if they want to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes. Achter looks to vie with around 10 other players for two Twins 40-man spots.
- Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that money was likely a factor in the Indians' decision to draft Tyler Naquin, whom they selected 15th overall in 2012, over Michael Wacha. A teammate of Naquin's at Texas A&M, Wacha was eventually selected with the 19th pick by the Cardinals and signed for the full slot value of $1.9MM.
Here are some links for Monday night as we anticipate the end of a managerial search in Boston and the beginning of a GM search in Houston...
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker hears that Matt Murton will return to the Hanshin Tigers for 2012 (Twitter link). Murton could have been an outside-the-box alternative for teams looking for outfield help this offseason. The 30-year-old has a .286/.352/.436 line in parts of five MLB seasons and has hit well in Japan.
- C.J. Wilson, who visited with the Marlins today, has another free agent visit scheduled this week, but it’s not with the Rangers, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter).
- Twins people expect former GM Bill Smith to remain in the organization, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. Minnesota replaced Smith with longtime GM Terry Ryan earlier this month.
- Speaking of the Twins, they’re one of many teams in on Yoenis Cespedes, according to Yahoo’s Tim Brown. This appears to be the first time they’ve been linked to the 26-year-old outfielder.
- The Astros are shopping Wandy Rodriguez all over, according to Brown.
- Jim Callis of Baseball America hears that the 30 MLB teams will be limited to $180MM in total spending for the first ten rounds of the draft under the new collective bargaining agreement (Twitter link).
- Teams that fail to sign top draft picks can’t re-allocate the money saved toward deals for other draft picks, according to MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo. For example, a team that fails to sign a top pick who had a recommended bonus of $1.5MM would see its spending ceiling fall by $1.5MM and would not have the option of spending that $1.5MM on other players.
Links for Monday as the Indians and Pirates claim sole possession of first place in their respective divisions...
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker previews the NPB players who may be available to Major League teams after the season, including starter Hisashi Iwakuma and former big leaguer Matt Murton.
- The Hiroshima Carp signed Brian Barton, according to a report on Sanspo. The 30-year-old infielder has experience with three MLB teams and last played in the big leagues for last year's Marlins team.
- The agent for Alex Cintron told MLB.com's Bill Ladson that his client is looking to un-retire and play in the Major Leagues again (Twitter link).
- Twins assistant GM Rob Antony said on 1500 ESPN's "Sunday Morning SportsTalk" show that Minnesota would like to add a middle reliever and may go outside of the organization for help. Tom Pelissero has the details on the Twins, who started the day just five games out of first place.
- White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen told Brett Ballantini of CSNChicago.com that he and GM Kenny Williams want to re-sign Mark Buehrle after the season, when the left-hander is eligible for free agency. The White Sox have not discussed years or money with Buehrle, who has hinted at retirement in the past. Buehrle allowed two earned runs in seven innings as the White Sox beat the Royals tonight.
Links for Saturday evening...
- Curious about how all the recent free agent activity has impacted the 2011 draft order? Check out the updated order here.
- Right-hander Radhames Liz has signed with the LG Twins of the Korean Baseball Organization according to the Yahoo! Sports transactions log. MLBTR has confirmed the signing. The Padres released Liz earlier this week.
- MLB.com's Peter Gammons says the Rangers thought they'd be able to acquire Robinson Chirinos from the Cubs, then package him with Derek Holland, Engel Beltre, and Frank Francisco to get Matt Garza from the Rays. Texas would have kicked in some money to offset Francisco's salary.
- "We're not giving away the farm to try and win in one year," said Cubs GM Jim Hendry when asked about the Garza deal, according to Paul Sullivan of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Garza is still under team control through 2013.
- It appears that the Nationals will have a smaller payroll than last year, according to Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com.
- Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports applauds the Rockies for keeping their nucleus together. Earlier this week Colorado agreed to terms with Carlos Gonzalez on a contract extension.
- The Orioles' may have trouble finding an undervalued lefty reliever on a one-year deal, writes Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun.
- Joe Torre is in talks to become the next executive vice president of operations for MLB, according to Teri Thompson and Bill Madden of the New York Daily News. Torre stepped down as Dodgers manager towards the end of 2010 season.
- Matt Murton talked to Anna Katherine Clemmons of ESPN The Magazine about his time in Japan.
- For the second time this month, Torii Hunter lobbied for the Angels to acquire Adam Dunn (MLB.com's Bill Ladson reporting). Hunter's willingness to weigh in on personnel decisions should come as no surprise, given his desire to be a GM one day.
- Adrian Beltre was close to accepting a multiyear offer from the Athletics in the offseason, but he told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle that he felt the Red Sox gave him a better chance to win. Beltre has not had any talks with the Sox about an extension, reports WEEI's Rob Bradford.
- Cliff Lee doesn't know whether proximity to his Arkansas home will impact where he signs, reports ESPN's Richard Durrett.
- MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince responds strongly to C.C. Sabathia's comments made to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Asked about the breakup of the Indians, Sabathia said, "That wasn't our fault. They traded us. That's on them."
- It appears that the Hanshin Tigers will retain Matt Murton for 2011, according to a Sanspo report relayed by NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman.
- A's assistant GM David Forst tells MLB.com's Jane Lee that the club would like to add depth to its lineup, even after the Conor Jackson trade (Twitter link).
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that the club would consider trading for or signing a reliever.
- The Hanshin Tigers will pick up Matt Murton's option for 2011, according to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker (via Twitter). Jack Moore of FanGraphs recently updated us on Murton's success in Japan.
- Ben Badler of Baseball America hears that the Mariners will likely sign right-hander Jose Torres for $800K (Twitter link).
- MLBTR has an internship opportunity for a limited number of regular readers. Any skilled and experienced writers with an eye for detail should describe their experience as writers and editors in a couple sentences and e-mail email@example.com by the end of the day.
- Yunesky Maya was already unblocked, but he can sign with anyone now that he has been cleared by the FAC office, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPNdeportes.com (link in Spanish).
- Chipper Jones could announce that he will retire after the season, according to Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle says Nationals GM Mike Rizzo misread Stephen Strasburg and should have called him up early on in the season.
- From what Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog gathers, the Mets and Mariners have talked a lot about Cliff Lee.
- Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik declined to comment on whether the team would trade Lee now, according to Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com.
- Jay Greenberg of the New York Post says the Mets seem likely to keep relying on R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi, as tempting as Roy Oswalt may be.
- Buck Showalter and Phil Garner both told MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli that the O's have yet to contact them about managing the club.
- Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times suggests the Cubs could benefit from becoming sellers. - it just wouldn't be an easy sell to the fan base.
- David Ortiz tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he misses Manny Ramirez, though the two didn't socialize much beyond the ballpark.
5:28pm: Murton's rights were sold to the Hanshin Tigers, explains MLB.com's Thomas Harding.
2:32pm: The Rockies released outfielder Matt Murton so he can pursue a career in Japan, according to FOX Sports. Murton, 28, hit .324/.389/.499 in Triple A this year and would've been arbitration-eligible. Murton is a known MLBTR reader; we wish him the best of luck!
The FOX report goes on to suggest that the Rockies might now have to retain arb-eligible outfielder Ryan Spilborghs, but (oddly) they've inquired on Corey Hart in case they do move him.
According to Doug Miller of MLB.com, the Rockies have designated outfielder Matt Murton for assignment.
The move cleared roster space for reliever Juan Rincon, who was activated from the disabled list Wednesday evening and will add depth to the Rockies' bullpen for the stretch run. Murton, now 27, posted a passable .267/.327/.444 line in 45 at-bats with the Rockies earlier this season and had a .321 batting average with 71 RBI for Triple-A Colorado Springs. With those kind of numbers, he's sure to draw interest from opposing ball clubs.
It's a fantasy baseball show, but Peter Gammons discussed the trade market on ESPN's Fantasy Focus today. Here are his latest rumors:
- The Red Sox like Ryan Spilborghs, but the Phillies and other teams are interested, too. Plus, the Rockies are looking much better under Jim Tracy, so they're not dealing yet.
- The Angels have targeted Huston Street, in case the Rockies become sellers.
- Several teams have interest in Matt Murton.
- Gammons compares Eric Young Jr. to a young Chone Figgins because of his versatility.
- Another versatile player, Alfredo Amezaga, would interest 6-8 contenders if the Marlins shopped him, but they're not about to make him available.
- The market for Miguel Tejada should be pretty good, if the Astros decide to trade him. The Red Sox could be among the interested teams. Tejada would be a good fit for the Cardinals, but Gammons doesn't see Drayton McLane allowing Ed Wade to trade a key player to their divisional rival.
ESPN's Peter Gammons has a new blog post up. Let's take a look.
- Gammons writes in praise of North Carolina's Dustin Ackley, who is likely to be chosen by the Mariners at #2 in June. Ackley may wind up at center field or second base.
- The Red Sox don't appear willing to trade young pitchers like Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden, and Nick Hagadone. The Sox have looked at bats such as Colorado's Matt Murton and Ryan Spilborghs, but for now aren't desperate enough to trade pitching. Gammons wonders if, for the right bat, Boston would part with Manny Delcarmen. He believes Delcarmen could close in the NL.
- Gammons says the Mets think they could have Carlos Delgado back by August if he has hip surgery, allowing them to stay in-house for his replacements.
- The Dodgers, Indians, Yankees, and Twins are looking for relief help. Gammon names Jose Valverde, Huston Street, Danys Baez, Russ Springer, and John Grabow as future trade candidates.