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The fallout over Alex Rodriguez's suspension for the entire 2014 season is still settling over both the Bronx and the entire baseball world. Here's the latest on both A-Rod and other Yankee-related topics…
- The Yankees will "most likely" not sign another infielder to a Major League contract, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link). As Rosenthal notes, that would take the Yankees out of the running for Stephen Drew and Michael Young. Drew might've been a long shot anyway given Scott Boras' salary demands and the fact that Drew is a natural shortstop, though Young and Mark Reynolds were reportedly both on the Yankees' radar. Reynolds, however, has already rejected a minor league offer from the club and only wants a Major League deal.
- The 162-game suspension will reduce Rodriguez's salary to just under $2.87MM for 2014, though Forbes Magazine's Maury Brown notes that the Yankees will pay A-Rod $3MM on Wednesday in the last instalment of his original $10MM signing bonus. Brown's piece also looks at several other facets of Rodriguez's suspension, including possible implications for the MLBPA and future PED testing rules.
- Rodriguez's suspension gives the Yankees millions in salary relief, a situation that The Denver Post's Troy Renck and FOX Sports' Gabe Kapler both see as a sign that MLB needs to do more to penalize teams who have players suspended for PED violations. Renck suggests that wins could be removed from a team's record, while Kapler suggests that a team should pay a suspended player his full salary, but the player would then have to donate his salary while under suspension to an MLB-approved charity.
- "The hard reality is that no matter what you think of A-Rod, the Yankees brought this situation upon themselves, purely out of greed," ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews writes, noting that Rodriguez's contract was negotiated by Yankees upper management above GM Brian Cashman's objections. Matthews suggests that the club could just release Rodriguez and pay the remaining $61MM on his contract just to avoid the distractions if A-Rod shows up at Spring Training as planned.
- From earlier today, the Yankees agreed to sign infielder Scott Sizemore to a minor league deal.
In his latest column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe revealed that he is part of a BBWAA committee that will explore the Hall of Fame voting process and discuss what changes (if any) need to be made. Some of the issues likely to be addressed by the committee is whether to allow voters to name more than 10 players on their ballots, whether or not long-time broadcasters or statistical analysis-centric writers should be given a say in HOF voting.
Here's the latest hot stove news from Cafardo…
- Two new teams have joined the hunt for Bronson Arroyo. At least one of his suitors is moving closer to giving Arroyo the third contract year he's looking for, though that third year could come in the form of a vesting option. Cafardo isn't sure if the Twins were that mystery team, though they've been interested in Arroyo all winter. He also cites the Yankees and Phillies as interested parties, as those two clubs join the likes of the Orioles, Mets and Pirates as those linked to the veteran righty this winter. Cafardo reported last month that Arroyo has received two-year contract offers from four different teams.
- Free agent Lyle Overbay is an option for both the Astros and Brewers at first base. Milwaukee is also still considering signing Michael Young for first, or trading for Mitch Moreland of the Rangers.
- Agent Scott Boras says “there are five or six teams who I have actively talked to concerning Stephen [Drew],” including the Red Sox. As you might expect, Boras denied that Drew's market is in any way limited, noting that Drew doesn't have a new contract yet since "free agency is a long process. It just doesn’t end at Christmas. It’s a January, February, and even a March process."
- Boras "has a tremendous stake in the Red Sox’ present and future," Cafardo writes, noting that the agent represents not just Drew, but also top youngsters Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley and Deven Marrero.
- "The silence on [Kendrys] Morales is deafening," as teams are reluctant to give up a first round draft pick as compensation for the slugger. At least one team said they're leery about spending significant money for a DH, though Boras, Morales' agent, counters by noting the impact that David Ortiz has had on the Red Sox and also noting that his client can play first base.
- Johnny Damon has stayed in shape and would be willing to resume his career. The 40-year-old hinted at retirement if he couldn't find a contract last offseason and indeed Damon ended up sitting out the 2013. Damon is also a Boras client, and the agent tells Cafardo that Damon has yet to contact him about officially retiring.
- Manny Ramirez wants to continue his career, his hitting coach David Segui predicts, though Segui hasn't spoken to Ramirez in over two months. “Manny will always be able to hit,” Segui said. “He loves to play, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s still looking for something.” Ramirez's agent, Barry Praver, said in November that his client looking for a return to the Majors. Ramirez, 41, last played with the bigs with the Rays in 2011 before being suspended for PED use. Over the last two years, Ramirez spent some time with the Athletics' and Rangers' Triple-A affiliates and also played in Taiwan.
- A National League GM predicts that one of Masahiro Tanaka's many suitors will "come in and blow everyone away. There’s going to be a dance where everyone is in the same boat and then there will be a team that breaks the bank for him.”
Hiroki Kuroda gave the Yankees "top priority" this offseason after he decided to pitch another year, the hurler tells Sponichi (via an article by Mike Axisa of River Avenue Blues). Kuroda says the Yankees approached him about an extension as early as August. As Axisa notes, the episode is another indication that the Yankees have abandoned their "no extensions" policy. Here's more Yankees notes, with a heavy emphasis on Alex Rodriguez, who will be suspended for the entire 2014 season:
- The A-Rod suspension gives the Yanks a much better chance of getting under the $189MM luxury tax threshold, but they'll also need to find someone to play third base, Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News writes. While the Yankees have Kelly Johnson in the fold, he's played just 16 games at third in his Major League career.
- Other potential fits include Mark Reynolds and Michael Young. Reynolds, you may remember, played 36 games in pinstripes last season. There's also Dustin Ackley and Nick Franklin of the Mariners, whom another source says the Yankees expressed interest in at the Winter Meetings. A trade may not be in the cards, however, McCarron says.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick examines the fallout from the suspension, noting that cases such as Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro indicate A-Rod has little chance of entering the Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, Commissioner Bud Selig can now argue that he's left the game "in a better place."
- While Rodriguez plans to take his case to federal court, Ian O'Connor of ESPN New York opines that such a bid is also unlikely to succeed. "Federal judges historically have little interest in hearing cases already settled in collectively bargained arbitration," O'Connor writes.
- Daniel Lazaroff, a professor at the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, says A-Rod winning an injunction that would allow him to play in 2014 "is about as likely as the 'steroid-era' players being elected to the Hall of Fame." Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times has more from Lazaroff in his column on the suspension.
- Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun expects a long court battle, which might be A-Rod's "only chance to preserve any semblance of a legacy."
The Yankees could soon learn the result of Alex Rodriguez's appeal of his suspension. If the suspension is upheld, they could turn to free agents Michael Young or Mark Reynolds as alternatives, Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York writes.
If A-Rod isn't available, the Yankees do have the lefty-hitting Kelly Johnson to play the hot corner. Young or Reynolds, both of them right-handed, could platoon with Johnson, who could also play second base. Young hit .279/.335/.395 with the Phillies and Dodgers last season, and Reynolds hit .220/.306/.393 with the Indians and Yankees. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweeted last month that the Yankees had interest in Reynolds and Young, but since then, they've agreed to terms with Brian Roberts to help address their second base needs. That would appear to impact their plan at third base, since Johnson can play both positions.
Marchand notes that the Yankees are unlikely to make any moves at third until they know more about Rodriguez's situation, and they might not make any until after Masahiro Tanaka signs, whether that's with them or someone else.
The Brewers are interested in Michael Young as a first baseman, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Dodgers and Rockies are also in the mix for Young. The Nationals are involved too, but they're also exploring other options at present.
Young could pair with Juan Francisco at first base in Milwaukee. It certainly helps that, as Rosenthal notes (link), Brewers GM Doug Melvin and coaches Jerry and Johnny Narron know Young from his days with the Rangers.
The Brewers have been combing the first base market and lost a potential option when they're own free agent, Corey Hart, hooked on with the Mariners. Recently, our own Charlie Wilmoth looked at some of the other remaining options at the first base position, including the Cardinals' Matt Adams, the Mets' Ike Davis ( whom they've been heavily connected to), and Kendrys Morales. Adams would be a tremendous addition, but prying him away from divisional rivals could be tough.
The Mariners are one of the winners of the Winter Meetings, John Harper of the New York Daily News writes. Many in baseball have predicted Robinson Cano's 10-year, $240MM deal will end poorly, but the contract will help the Mariners attract other stars and generate fan interest, Harper says. More Saturday night links from baseball's Western divisions:
- The Seattle Times' Ryan Divish has new quotes from Mariners GM Jack Zdurienick on the club's plans for the rest of the offseason. While the Mariners still aim to acquire a right-handed bat, bullpen arms and a back-up catcher, they may have to get creative to do so, Zdurienick says. Nelson Cruz would appear to fit the club's need for right-handed offense, but Divish says he's asking for a deal with a $16-17MM annual salary.
- Bill Dwyre of the Los Angeles Times has high praise for Mark Trumbo's character following the trade that sent the slugger to the Diamondbacks. "I've been a lifelong Angels fan, and in many ways, it has been pretty much all I've known," Trumbo said of the deal. "It'll be a little tough."
- An unnamed Dodgers player told Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter) that Juan Uribe is an "amazing teammate and defender who hit [the] organization's biggest [home run] since [Kirk] Gibson." The third baseman, who will reportedly re-up with the Dodgers for two years and $15MM, clubbed a dramatic go-ahead homer that helped the Dodgers clinch the National League Division Series over the Braves this year.
- The Rockies want to add a veteran to their bench, and Michael Young may be available now that the Dodgers have re-signed Uribe, Troy Renck of The Denver Post writes (Sulia link). Young is reporetedly looking for a starting role, however.
- Carlos Gonzalez says he's prepared for an upcoming move to center field, Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports. Gonzalez will shift to center from left following the Rockies' trade of Dexter Fowler to the Astros.
After spending much of his time in 2011-12 as a designated hitter, Young served last year as the Phillies' regular third bagger before finishing the year as a utilityman for the Dodgers. Young's return to a daily role in the field came with mixed results. On the one hand, he proved that he is still capable of keeping up with the grind. On the other, Young's hot corner work graded out at or below replacement level in the aggregate.
Young hit at a slightly above average rate in 2013, posting a .279/.335/.395 triple-slash in 565 plate appearances. On the other hand, UBR pegged Young as costing his clubs 4.6 runs through baserunning. And advanced fielding metrics were not fans of his work on the hot corner. UZR, for instance, graded Young as the second-worst regular third baseman in the league.
While we heard recently that the Dodgers were eyeing Young, it would seem a surprise for Los Angeles to plug him into its everyday lineup to start the year. The club could also ink him as a utility player and use his presence to regain some leverage in a seller's market. Juan Uribe, who delivered a big year for the Dodgers in 2013, remains available. But the club is reportedly prepared to move on after not hearing back on an offer to the free agent, with Olney tweeting that L.A. increasingly believes he'll find a new home. Otherwise, the Dodgers will presumably need to test the trade market, where pickings are slim and prices could be high.
The Rangers made headlines today by selecting Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. Before going on to NFL stardom, Wilson was selected by the Rockies as a second baseman in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, and Colorado retained its rights to Wilson until this morning. Wilson will report to Spring Training and talk to the Rangers' minor leaguers in a motivational capacity. "We decided if he ever wanted to play again, he'd be a guy that we'd want with us," Texas assistant GM A.J. Preller told reporters, including MLB.com's Richard Justice. The Wilson selection isn't a gimmick, ESPN's Richard Durrett writes, and Jon Daniels is excited to have Wilson's winning qualities in the organization, though Daniels stressed that the club isn't trying to distract Wilson from his NFL goals. Here's more out of the AL West…
- Shin-Soo Choo and Nelson Cruz remain unsigned, which is good news for the Rangers, ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett writes. The Rangers like both players and are hoping that their asking prices drop the longer they stay on the market. Daniels said that his team's pursuit of Choo was "unchanged" from yesterday.
- There is a chance that Michael Young could rejoin the Rangers if both parties see a fit, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez tweets. Texas dealt its longtime franchise staple to the Phillies last offseason and Young was subsequently dealt to the Dodgers in August.
- Despite recent rumors linking the Angels to Matt Garza and Raul Ibanez, general manager Jerry Dipoto told reporters (including Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times) that his team doesn't have any outstanding offers to free agents.
- In a special piece for FOX Sports, new Mariners first baseman/outfielder Logan Morrison wrote about the experience of being traded to a new team. Morrison's piece is particularly fascinating in that it was written prior to the trade that sent him to Seattle. LoMo says he doesn't have any ill feelings toward the Marlins organization, adding that contrary to public opinion, owner Jeffrey Loria was "great and generous" to Morrison and his family. Loria allowed Morrison and his family to use his personal plane to get to Kansas City for the funeral of Morrison's father.
- The Astros spoke to the Marlins about Morrison and also pursued Corey Hart and Mike Morse, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports. Jose Veras rejected the Astros' initial contract offer but the two sides still share a mutual interest in a reunion.
- The Yankees, Indians, Braves, Phillies, Blue Jays, Twins and Indians were all involved in trade talks for Brett Anderson before the Athletics sent the right-hander to the Rockies, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Brett Anderson | Corey Hart | Houston Astros | Jose Veras | Logan Morrison | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Matt Garza | Miami Marlins | Michael Morse | Michael Young | Nelson Cruz | Oakland Athletics | Raul Ibanez | Seattle Mariners | Shin-Soo Choo | Texas Rangers
Here are some quick notes from around the West divisions:
- The Mariners have interest in re-signing outfielder Franklin Gutierrez, likely to a one-year, incentive-based deal, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes. (Twitter links).
- M's GM Jack Zduriencik also says the Mariners might attempt to improve their outfield via trades, Divish tweets.
- The Dodgers are discussing Michael Young as a possible option in their infield, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times writes (via Twitter).
- Mike Morse wants $7MM or $8MM on a one-year contract, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets. That seems to be a lot to pay a player who hit .215/.270/.381 with poor defense last season. The Astros are reportedly among the teams interested in Morse.
- The Astros have also recently spoken with representatives of outfielder Grady Sizemore, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart writes (via Twitter). Sizemore, 31, last played in the big leagues in 2011.
- The Rockies are interested in both Morse and Young, the Denver Post's Troy Renck tweets.
- Now that the Mark Trumbo trade is complete, the Angels are likely to keep second baseman Howie Kendrick, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez tweets.
- Giants GM Brian Sabean says that if infielder Pablo Sandoval comes to spring training in good shape, the Giants would consider signing Sandoval to an extension, MLB.com's Chris Haft tweets.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels says free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz doesn't owe the Rangers special consideration despite missing 50 games in 2013 after being suspended, reports ESPN's Richard Durrett. "He had a decision to make," says Daniels. "[W]e all understood the position he was in. I can’t speak for everybody, but I don’t view it that way. I don’t think he owes us." Cruz could have appealed his suspension and continued to play for the Rangers last season, but he chose not to.
- If the Diamondbacks are unable to trade for a pitcher, they could pursue Matt Garza, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert tweets.
In an Insider post (subscription required), Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio names eight players who could be traded during the Winter Meetings. The Rays' David Price tops the list with Bowden's possible destinations starting with the Dodgers. The Dodgers also have two of their own on the list: outfielders Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Here's more on the Boys in Blue and the rest of the NL West:
- Re-signing Juan Uribe figures to be at or near the top of the Dodgers' to-do list at the Winter Meetings, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
- Uribe is not seeking a three-year contract and the holdup with the Dodgers is either their desire for a one-year deal or money, tweets ESPNLosAngeles.com's Mark Saxon.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweeted confirmation of an earlier report the Rockies are interested in Raul Ibanez, but cautioned nothing is serious at this point. Renck also noted Michael Young is on the club's radar for a bench role.
- The Rockies are also becoming more serious about Michael Morse along with the Giants, Marlins, and Rangers, reports the New York Post's Joel Sherman (Twitter links).
- There's been speculation the Giants could be a fit for Ichiro Suzuki, but Ken Davidoff of the New York Post tweets he doesn't believe that's the case.
- The demands of the trade market will determine what course Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers takes during the Winter Meetings, reports azcentral.com's Nick Piecoro. "Most people are asking for quite a bit right now, I'm not real excited about what I'd have to give up in the trade market," Towers said. "I'm hoping maybe the price starts to come down. If not, then I'll turn to more free agents."
- Left-hander Erick Threets is looking to play in Asia, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. The 32-year-old spent 2013 with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League pitching to a 7.04 ERA, 5.9 K/9, and 7.5 BB/9 in 23 innings covering 27 relief outings. Threets' last MLB affiliation was with the Dodgers' Triple-A team 2012 and his last appearance in a big league game was in 2010 for the White Sox.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Andre Ethier | Arizona Diamondbacks | Atlanta Braves | Colorado Rockies | David Price | Erick Threets | Ichiro Suzuki | Juan Uribe | Kevin Towers | Los Angeles Dodgers | Matt Kemp | Miami Marlins | Michael Morse | Michael Young | Raul Ibanez | San Francisco Giants | Texas Rangers