Michael Cuddyer Rumors

Willingham Market Hinges On Cuddyer

1:36pm: The Rockies are focused on Cuddyer, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Should they lose out on the long-time Twinkie, they'll turn that focus to Willingham.

1:24pm: MLB Network's Jon Heyman adds the Rockies to the list of teams still eyeing Willingham, but doesn't go as far as calling them a "finalist" as Camino did with the Indians and Twins (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Willingham market hinges on Michael Cuddyer, because the Twins view Willingham as their top alternative. Rosenthal also mentions the Rockies as a player for Willingham.

SUNDAY, 11:57am: The Mariners are out of the running for Willingham, tweets Nick Camino of WTAM 1100. The outfielder's choice is down to the Indians and Twins, according to Camino.

SATURDAY, 10:32pm: The Mariners and Indians appear to be the front-runners for free agent outfielder Josh Willingham, reports Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio (on Twitter). MLB.com's Jordan Bastian says (on Twitter) that other teams remain in the mix though, including the Indians. Cleveland has not yet made an offer though. The Rockies, Twins, Rays were also in the mix at one point.

Willingham, 32, hit .246/.332/.477 with a career-high 29 home runs in 2011. The right-handed hitter tallied 829 1/3 innings in left field, and also has experience in right field in 2009. First base and designated hitter could be options as well. Willingham's agent Matt Sosnick guessed in October that his client would sign a three-year deal.


Quick Hits: Felix, Cuddyer, Dotel, Phillies

A round-up of news from around the majors….

  • The Mariners will be hard-pressed to contend with AL West superpowers like the Rangers and Angels, but Larry Stone of the Seattle Times argues the club shouldn't think about trading Felix Hernandez.  Stone thinks such a deal would cause a "backlash" among M's fans and "there's still plenty of time to consider a Hernandez trade down the road if the Mariners' situation gets more dire."
  • Michael Cuddyer was frustrated by the negativity surrounding the Twins last season and isn't sure if the team will be able to contend in the near future, reports Phil Mackey of ESPN 1500 Radio.  The Twins have had a three-year, $24-$25MM offer on the table to Cuddyer for the last few days and the Rockies may also be willing to go to three years for the veteran.  Mackey speculates the Cardinals could check in on Cuddyer to help fill the void left by Albert Pujols.
  • Octavio Dotel tells MLB.com's Jason Beck that his choice of teams came down to the Tigers and the Brewers.  Dotel says the Padres were also interested in signing him as a setup man. 
  • MLB.com's Todd Zolecki has contract details for a number of new Phillies, most notably Jonathan Papelbon.
  • Carlos Beltran hasn't gotten much attention this winter, and Fangraphs' Eric Seidman names seven teams who could be a fit for the free agent outfielder.
  • Nick Punto is "at or near [the] top" of the Braves' list of backup infield options, reports David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via Twitter).
  • A rival executive tells FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi (Twitter link) that the Mets won't trade David Wright.  "He’s more valuable to them than he would be to any other team," the exec says.

Rockies Considering Three-Year Offer To Cuddyer

The Rockies' willingness to consider a three-year offer to free agent right fielder Michael Cuddyer makes them a serious suitor, writes Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post.  The Rockies freed up $7MM in yesterday's Huston Street trade.  They have mild interest in Cody Ross as a complementary piece and are not pursuing Josh Willingham, writes Renck.

The Twins reportedly have a three-year offer worth $24-25MM on the table for Cuddyer.  GM Terry Ryan told MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger he still thinks they have a chance.  Ryan would like to get something done sooner than later.  Cuddyer's wife just gave birth to twin girls, however, so Cuddyer may be occupied with diaper duty.



NL West Notes: Rockies, Stewart, Dodgers

Earlier today we saw a rare trade between division rivals when the Rockies sent Huston Street to the Padres for a player to be named later and cash. Let's take a look at some other news and rumors from the NL West…


Latest On Placido Polanco

8:20pm: The Rockies are no longer interested in Polanco because they don't feel he can play second base, tweets Rosenthal.

TUESDAY, 12:16pm: The Phillies are not shopping Polanco and are only interested in trading him if they can't re-sign Jimmy Rollins, reports ESPN's Jayson Stark.  The Phillies refer to keep Rollins and Polanco on the left side of their infield, but they could add someone like Aramis Ramirez if Rollins leaves.  Stark says the Phillies are willing to eat about a third of Polanco's contract, which equates to $2.4MM.

MONDAY, 11:50am: The Phillies are actively trying to trade third baseman Placido Polanco, a rival executive tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  That'd open up third base for free agent Aramis Ramirez, for whom the Phillies are reportedly strong players.  Polanco, 36, is owed $7.25MM through 2012.

The Phillies have cooled on free agent Michael Cuddyer, Rosenthal reported earlier today.


Twins Made Three-Year Offer To Cuddyer

3:23pm: The Twins are meeting with Cuddyer's agent today, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, and seek resolution on their offer.

10:25am: The Twins offered Michael Cuddyer a three-year, $25MM deal, tweets Jon Heyman of MLB Network.  Josh Willingham is viewed as a back-up plan.


Heyman On Royals, Cuddyer, Andruw, Astros

Congratulations to national baseball writer Jon Heyman, who has a new job with CBSSports.com starting Monday.  As usual, Heyman is tweeting up a storm; here's his latest from the Winter Meetings (all links go to Twitter):

  • The Royals are talking trades for starters and are in on Oakland's Gio Gonzalez.
  • Everyone wants bullpen help but few want it more than the Padres, Brewers, and Red Sox.
  • The Phillies haven't completely ruled out Michael Cuddyer, but the Twins are still trying to bring him back as well. The Giants and Red Sox are other logical destinations, in Heyman's estimation.
  • The Yankees would love to bring back Andruw Jones for his right-handed pop and strong clubhouse presence.
  • Former Reds executive Scott Nethery is in the mix for the Astros GM opening. Andrew Friedman is still their top choice, Bill Geivett and Jeff Luhnow are also in the mix.
  • The Astros will also eat most of Carlos Lee's contract to facilitate a trade. They still expect a good return for Wandy Rodriguez and something decent for Brett Myers in any trade.
  • Heyman also said this morning that the Angels are looking for a closer and the Pirates are talking to Derrek Lee.

Twins Notes: Morneau, Mauer, Cuddyer, Kubel, Capps

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire joined 1500 ESPN's Talkin' Twins show last night and said the Twins are attempting to put together a team that can win even if Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau aren’t ready for Opening Day. “I think that's a pretty good idea,” Gardenhire said. “If we have those guys back on the field, which I believe we will… we'll have a heck of a baseball team." Here are more details on the Twins’ offseason plans, via Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com:

  • The team has made offers to some of its current free agents. The Twins are “making a mad effort” to sign Michael Cuddyer and they’d “love to have” Jason Kubel back. However, re-signing both players isn’t necessarily realistic.
  • Matt Capps struggled in 2011 and could bring the Twins a compensatory draft pick in 2012, but the team is working to re-sign him. Gardenhire would like to bring the right-hander back because he’s a “great teammate and a good pitcher” who pitched through pain in 2011, even though the results weren’t there and “people got frustrated with him.” The 28-year-old posted a 4.25 ERA with 4.7 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 65 2/3 innings in 2011 and his peripheral stats were significantly worse than they were in 2010.
  • Gardenhire said his entire 2012 rotation is “not necessarily” on the Twins roster just yet.

AL Central Notes: Cespedes, Royals, Cuddyer

The Tigers, who agreed to sign Ramon Santiago to a two-year deal today, have interest in Coco Crisp. Here are the latest updates from their division, starting with a note on another possible outfield target for Detroit:

  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski will watch Yoenis Cespedes play in the Dominican Republic, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, who suggests this is “very unusual” for Dombrowski (Twitter link). Cespedes isn’t yet a free agent, but he’s in the process of establishing temporary residency in the Dominican and may hit the open market soon.
  • Before the Royals signed Jonathan Broxton, outfielder Jeff Francoeur and manager Ned Yost went hunting with the right-hander in Georgia, according to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post. The outing helped convince Broxton to join the Royals.
  • Twins manager Ron Gardenhire says the team is "making a mad effort" to sign Michael Cuddyer, according to Phil Mackey of ESPN 1500 (on Twitter).
  • Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle hears Josh Willingham may be a fit in Minnesota if the Twins don’t re-sign Cuddyer. Similarly, the Red Sox may have interest if they don’t re-sign David Ortiz, Slusser writes.

American League Free Agent Arbitration Offers

10 American League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll update them in this post throughout the day in advance of the 11pm central time deadline.  For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here

Updated team decisions:

Teams with decisions still due: