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Melky Cabrera Rumors
Here’s the latest on the Mariners heading out of the Winter Meetings, courtesy of Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune:
- The Mariners and Melky Cabrera seem to have staked out their positions, with Cabrera after five years and upwards of $60MM and the M’s not willing to go past three and around $42MM.
- Seattle is increasingly looking at other possibilities, though the idea of a Dayan Viciedo trade was downplayed by Dutton’s sources. The team does have interest in Alex Rios, though he seems to be waiting out other market moves.
- The M’s still have interest in Justin Upton, but do not want to meet the Braves’ asking price. Meanwhile, the team is “cool” at present to the idea of dealing for Ian Desmond.
- One alternative trade candidate is Seth Smith of the Padres, though Dutton notes that he would not be optimal since he swings from the left side.
The Mariners’ recent attempts to find an outfielder (a position where they’re thin, especially after trading Michael Saunders to Toronto) have, at least so far, come up short. They’ve reportedly bowed out on Matt Kemp, and Dutton writes that their negotiations with Melky Cabrera have reached an impasse. The Mariners also reportedly spoke to the White Sox about a Viciedo trade last July.
Viciedo, 25, is a right-handed hitter with good power, with 21 home runs last season. But he hit just .231/.281/.405 in 563 plate appearances in 2014, and he’s also a weak defender in either outfield corner. The Mariners would likely be hoping for improvement if they acquired him. He’s projected to make $4.4MM through the arbitration process next year, and he has two years of arbitration eligibility remaining after that.
Earlier today, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that the Mariners appear to be the favorites for Melky Cabrera, but we later got word that the M’s are still looking at a wide range of outfield options. Meanwhile, the White Sox, Giants, and Royals have also been linked to him as of late. Here’s the latest on Cabrera..
Even though Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart said last week that he will not trade Mark Trumbo, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter) hears that he is still in play for Arizona. There was once talk of a three-way deal involving Trumbo that fell through but he remains available. A look at the AL and NL West..
- Tony La Russa said the the Diamondbacks had talks with the Dodgers about Miguel Montero but they never had a deal in place, according to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com (via Twitter).
- The Mariners are pondering a wide range of possibilities for an outfield bat, including trades, and they’re not locked in on Melky Cabrera at this point, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported earlier today that the M’s are the favorites for the outfielder.
- Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson has switched agents and joined Excel Sports Management, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter).
- Despite being connected to him, the Astros did not seriously pursue Jason Hammel, according to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). They did make an inquiry, however. Hammel ultimately returned to the Cubs on a two-year pact.
The latest on the Royals..
- The Giants and Royals are two teams to watch on Mets pitcher Dillon Gee, but there are other clubs who have checked in as well, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (via Twitter).
- Colby Rasmus is on the Royals’ list of outfield options, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Earlier this offseason, our own Jeff Todd profiled Rasmus and identified the Royals as a possibility for him.
- The Royals are reportedly willing to listen on Greg Holland and Wade Davis and Bob Dutton of The News Tribune hears that they’re also willing to take calls on Kelvin Herrera. Kansas City is after an outfield bat and they could parlay their strength in the bullpen to solve their corner outfield situation. In Dutton’s mind, their willingness to move one of the three could signal that they can’t match other offers to sign Melky Cabrera.
The very latest from the AL West..
- The Rangers have made their first real bid for a starting free agent pitcher by extending a contract offer to Justin Masterson, a source tells Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. The market for the hurler is robust, however, so there might not be anything imminent on that front.
- The Mariners appear to be the favorites on Melky Cabrera, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Heyman adds that the idea that Cabrera would prefer to avoid going out West appears to be a non-factor now and sources say that he’s fine with it. The White Sox, Giants, and Royals have also been linked to Cabrera, but Seattle appears to be the team to beat at this time.
- Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow says he is “absolutely” open to bringing Jose Veras back, as Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes. Veras has previously stated his desire to return to Houston.
With the Winter Meetings beginning in San Diego, this could be the week the Dodgers finally deal from their glut of outfielders, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers would prefer to hang onto Matt Kemp, according to Shaikin, but Major League players are not being offered for either Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford.
Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports the Mariners were close to a deal for Kemp with Seattle paying roughly half of the $107 million remaining on his salary over the next five years, but things fell apart when the Dodgers insisted on the inclusion of either Taijuan Walker or James Paxton. In a second article, Dutton lists the Padres and the Orioles as the Mariners’ primary competition for Kemp, with Shaikin adding the Giants are a possibility, if they fail to sign Chase Headley. With Nelson Cruz now in Seattle, Dutton opines the Mariners’ interest in Kemp will depend on what other offers the Dodgers receive. Those other offers may not be to the Dodgers’ liking, as Shaikin notes the Braves (Justin Upton and Evan Gattis), Red Sox (Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig), and Phillies (Marlon Byrd) also have right-handed power bats available to trade.
Elsewhere in baseball’s West divisions:
- Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman says the constant rumors that come with running a major market team are “comical,” but he doesn’t necessarily mind it, writes Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “Misinformation can be a powerful tool,” Friedman said.
- The Mariners are reluctant to part with their young pitching to acquire an outfield bat, according to Dutton. “That’s a little bit of a dangerous road,” said GM Jack Zduriencik. “You look at our pitching staff, and when you analyze it, a couple of those young starters didn’t pitch a lot of innings last year.“
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets the Mariners are very serious about their pursuit of Melky Cabrera. Last week, it was reported the M’s are believed to be willing to offer something similar to the four-year, $57MM deal that they used to sign Cruz.
- In a separate tweet, Rosenthal posits the Angels are reluctant to trade second baseman Howie Kendrick because of offensive concerns including uncertainity about Josh Hamilton, an unsettled DH situation, and no clear backup catcher.
- Sources tell ESPN’s Buster Olney (via Twitter) the Giants and Reds are great fits for Justin Upton, but neither match up well with the Braves and may need to involve a third team to swing a deal.
- Olney also tweets the Astros continue to pursue closer David Robertson and his most lucrative offer might come from Houston.
- Rockies GM Jeff Bridich tells Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post there has been interest in catcher Wilin Rosario, but Colorado “could very easily go into the season with Wilin.“
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Allen Craig | Andre Ethier | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Carl Crawford | Chase Headley | Cincinnati Reds | Colorado Rockies | David Robertson | Evan Gattis | Houston Astros | Howie Kendrick | Jack Zduriencik | James Paxton | Josh Hamilton | Justin Upton | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Marlon Byrd | Matt Kemp | Melky Cabrera | Nelson Cruz | Philadelphia Phillies | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Seattle Mariners | Taijuan Walker | Wilin Rosario | Yoenis Cespedes
11:00pm: The Mariners are indeed ramping up their pursuit of Cabrera, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Heyman adds that the Mariners are believed to be willing to offer something similar to the four-year, $57MM contract they used to lure Cruz to the Emerald City. He also notes that the White Sox, Reds, Royals and Giants have all been linked to Cabrera.
Heyman, too, notes that Cabrera is seeking a five-year commitment, and if that’s the case despite the Mariners possibly being willing to offer north of $50MM over four years, it seems possible that his asking price is closer to $60MM. That, of course, is solely my own speculation. Earlier this offseason I pegged Cabrera for a five-year pact worth roughly $66MM in his free agent profile.
7:07pm: The Mariners are showing increased interest in free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports. Seattle is reportedly in the market for a right-handed bat, but GM Jack Zduriencik recently noted that a switch-hitter would hold particular appeal.
Cabrera is after a five-year deal with a guarantee of over $50MM, Dutton adds. Though the 30-year-old has been said to have an interest in playing somewhere on the east side of the country, sources tell Dutton that the 30-year-old is now willing to consider a broader geographical range.
Seattle’s interest goes beyond the fact that Cabrera is now the best free agent bat left unsigned. The club believes he would make a good fit in the two hole, a slot that it had considered filling with Torii Hunter before he joined the Twins. Matt Kemp, a trade target that the M’s are weighing, may not be an optimal fit in that lineup spot, Dutton writes.
Further, the Mariners would hold an advantage over some other possible suitors because they have already given up their first-round draft choice by signing Nelson Cruz. The qualifying offer-bound Cabrera would only cost Seattle its second-round choice at this point.
As we wait for word on several fast-moving free agent situations, here’s the latest out of the market:
- Outfielder Melky Cabrera is looking for a five-year deal, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. That is not surprising as an asking price, given that Cabrera is just 30 years of age, though it remains to be seen whether he can get that fifth year guaranteed.
- More surprising, perhaps, is that the Giants have expressed in Cabrera, per another Rosenthal tweet. While the match makes sense on paper, Cabrera left San Francisco on somewhat strained terms a few years back. But with options quickly disappearing to fill San Francisco’s void in left field, Cabrera could hold renewed appeal. Of course, San Francisco has been said to be casing a wide net in its search for upgrades, and it is not yet clear how seriously it intends to pursue Cabrera.
- The Rangers and Mariners join the previously-reported Cubs as teams to have checked in on outfielder Jonny Gomes, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweets. The veteran lefty-masher should have his choice of several landing spots, and will no doubt look to maximize his expected role.
- As the White Sox look to add a right-handed starter, the team is not ruling out pursuit of high-end free agents, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. That includes quality arms up to and including Max Scherzer, says Heyman, who notes that Chicago remains unlikely to make the massive outlay that will be required to add the consensus best arm available. The South Siders are also exploring the trade market, of course, and are looking not only at controllable options but also a variety of veterans with just one year remaining on their deals.
The Royals have reached out to a familiar name in the form of Melky Cabrera, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. It’s not clear if the Royals are able to afford Cabrera, who is said by Heyman to be seeking “at least” a five-year deal. He notes that the Reds have also contacted Cabrera’s camp. Additionally, Heyman lists the Mariners, Orioles and White Sox as speculative fits. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet tweets that the Blue Jays are still in touch with Cabrera as well. As many have pointed out, Toronto has just three outfielders on its 40-man roster at present. I profiled Cabrera in early October and projected a five-year deal worth just over $66MM.
Some more notes from the free agent market…
- Also seeking a five-year deal is right-hander Ervin Santana, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. Santana is among the best of the bunch in the second tier of free agent starters, and he’s been rumored to have mutual interest with the Royals. However, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star tweets that the Royals’ comfort level is at three years with Santana. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes projected a four-year, $56MM contract for Santana.
- Continuing on the theme of five-year contracts, Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York reports that the Yankees aren’t willing to give Chase Headley a five-year deal, and it’s believed by some that five years is now his asking price in the wake of both Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez signing in Boston. An alternative for the Yankees, Matthews writes, is to play Martin Prado at third base regularly and give prospect Rob Refsnyder a chance to be the everyday second baseman.
- The Yankees, Red Sox and Astros are all continuing to show strong interest in free agent lefty Andrew Miller, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Miller is believed to be headed for a four-year deal, and the Astros have been somewhat surprisingly linked to him and fellow top reliever David Robertson.
- Geovany Soto is currently talking to five or six teams, tweets Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. A reunion between Soto and the Rangers is a definite possibility, per Cotillo. The free agent market for catchers has few options remaining, putting Soto in a relatively good spot.
- Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that 10 teams, including the Tigers, have reached out to free agent righty Ronald Belisario after he was designated for assignment by the White Sox and chose to elect free agency (Twitter link). Belisario has a track record of success but struggled in 2014 despite maintaining his velocity and ground-ball rate.
- Nyjer Morgan is eyeing a return to the Majors and has drawn interest from both MLB and Asian clubs, tweets Cotillo. The 34-year-old spent a bit of time with the Indians last season but had his Cleveland tenure cut short by injury.