Michael Cuddyer Rumors
After seven seasons and a World Series title with the Red Sox, Jonathan Papelbon is leaving Boston for the Phillies and $50MM. Here's the latest on the Red Sox, starting with an update on the bullpen...
- The Red Sox will be in on Ryan Madson and Heath Bell, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Boston isn't yet committed to Daniel Bard as the closer.
- The Red Sox had preliminary talks with Michael Cuddyer's representatives, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.
- They’ve also been in touch with Grady Sizemore’s agents, Bradford reports (on Twitter).
- Twins GM Terry Ryan said he remains interested in re-signing Michael Cuddyer, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. Ryan said he spoke with Cuddyer earlier this week and added that the Twins should have the flexibility in their projected $100MM 2012 payroll to make Cuddyer a fair offer. So far, the Phillies have been aggressively pursuing Cuddyer this offseason.
- Free agent outfielder/DH Pat Burrell, 35, said his career is likely over due to a nagging right foot injury, according to Janie McCauley of the Associated Press (via NBCSports.com). The former Phillie, Ray and Giant, however, has yet to make a final decision. The Phils made Burrell the No. 1 overall draft pick in 1998.
- Left-hander Dontrelle Willis is drawing a lot of interest on the free agent market, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (via Twitter). Willis pitched to a 5.00 ERA/4.10 FIP in 75 2/3 innings with the Reds in 2011.
- Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said on MLB Network Radio that he is motivated to acquire an impact bat either through trade or free agency, tweets Jim Bowden.
- A pair of veteran scouts who follow the international free agent market predicted that Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes would sign a bigger contract than the one fellow defector Aroldis Chapman signed with the Reds two offseasons ago, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Chapman signed for six years and $30.5MM.
The Orioles officially hired executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette this week. Here’s the latest on the team as they begin their first offseason under Duquette...
- Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun is convinced there's no chance of the Orioles spending on free agents such as Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and C.J. Wilson. It seems more likely Duquette will build the Orioles from within, but it's not as though the team will sit free agency out entirely.
- Connolly gets the sense that Michael Cuddyer is near the top of the Orioles' wish list, but the Phillies seem to be a more likely destination for the free agent outfielder.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com looks ahead to the Orioles’ options for backing up catcher Matt Wieters in 2012 and wonders if veterans such as Ivan Rodriguez and Jorge Posada could be fits.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com expects Posada to sign with the Orioles or Marlins if he continues playing in 2012 (Twitter link). Posada knows he won't return to the Yankees.
- Michael Cuddyer visited the Phillies today, according to Tom Sredenschek of FOX 29 in Philadelphia (on Twitter). The Phillies are said to be pursuing the outfielder seriously.
- The Phillies are still talking to free agent right-hander Roy Oswalt as they complete their deal with Madson, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Many other teams are pursuing Oswalt, who seeks a multiyear deal. Rosenthal reported earlier today that the Nationals plan a major push for Oswalt.
- Cuddyer placed 11th on MLBTR's list of top free agents, while Madson ranked 14th and Oswalt placed 18th.
Terry Ryan returned to the role of Twins GM yesterday; here's the latest on the club.
- Ryan will be the GM for as long as he wants to be, a member of the Twins organization told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. "I don't know if it'll be for one year or 10 years," Ryan said yesterday, noting that if he likes the job he expects owner Jim Pohlad to let him stay.
- Ryan alluded to a $100MM payroll for 2012 yesterday, down from the $113-118MM range the Twins had in 2011. However, Twins president David St. Peter told Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, "Terry and I, frankly, have not had one discussion about our payroll for next year. He’s been privy to it because nothing has changed from what we had been telling Bill [Smith]...I think it can be a fluid number. I’m hoping we can find a way to inch it forward." Christensen guesses the Twins will ultimately have a payroll in the $110MM range.
- If Kevin Slowey and Jose Mijares are not retained, I'd estimate the Twins' commitments in the $74MM range for 2012 before accounting for minimum salary players. That could mean as much as $30MM to spend on 2012 salaries.
- Ryan's said his first priority is to reach out to the agents for the team's own free agents: Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, Joe Nathan, and Matt Capps.
- This morning we learned that the Mets will listen on offers for David Wright. With a $15MM salary next year and a $16MM option (which Wright can void if dealt) for 2013, Olney writes that the club's best chance to get value in return for him is to deal him now. Wright will turn 30 next year and while he has been a good solider, he could eventually ask to be sent to a contending team. Instead, the Mets can deal him now and get players to help them win in 2014 or 2015.
- There is sentiment within the Mets' organization that the timing isn't right to build around Jose Reyes, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com. There are concerns that he's not a fit between his leg injuries and their own timetable for contending.
- One official told Olney that the Phillies' interest in Michael Cuddyer is so ardent that if wants to play with the Phillies, the deal is inevitable as the club will make it happen. The expectation within the industry is that the veteran will get at least a three-year deal.
- The Braves are open to trading Martin Prado this winter and given the attention currently being lavished on Michael Cuddyer in the free agent market, Prado figures to be quite popular. An AL official told Olney that Prado is like a younger version of Cuddyer and might be a better hitter.
- The Diamondbacks continue to negotiate with second baseman Aaron Hill, and there appears to be some momentum toward getting a deal done.
- Dan Duquette is on the verge of becoming the Orioles' next GM but as recently as five days ago, the club had no plans to interview him.
A few items of note from around the Northeast Corridor ...
- The Yankees have contacted the agent for free agent starters Roy Oswalt and C.J. Wilson, according to Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger. Bombers GM Brian Cashman, however, cautioned that he's "in the process of talking to everybody." Oswalt and Wilson are both represented by Bob Garber of Select Sports Group, as our Agency Database shows.
- As well, Cashman has already communicated with free agent starter Freddy Garcia's representatives, according to Carig, and the parties are mutually interested in seeing the veteran right-hander in the Bronx again in 2012. Cashman also expressed interest in bringing back reserve infield Eric Chavez, backup outfielder Andruw Jones and right-hander Bartolo Colon.
- The Phillies have had discussions with free agent closer Ryan Madson, Madson's agent Scott Boras tells Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Boras termed the talks with the Phillies as "good dialogue" and said Madson is receiving a lot of interest - even from clubs that weren't thought to be in need of a closer.
- Newest Phillie Jim Thome is good friends with former Twins teammate Michael Cuddyer, whom the Phillies are seriously pursuing, so Thome could help recruit Cuddyer to Philly, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. "We've texted a little bit," Thome said. "We've talked." ... "I'm sure we will talk going forward."
- The Mets will refrain from doling out potentially crippling contracts under GM Sandy Alderson, but they shouldn't draw that line in dealing with their homegrown star Jose Reyes, opines Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Writes Rubin: "If the ultimate verdict with Reyes is a calculated baseball decision, so be it. But shame on the Mets if he departs and it is primarily payroll-constraint induced."
Let's take a look at some weekend links from around the league....
- Michael Cuddyer is open to returning to the Twins, but even if Minnesota makes him the best offer, there's no guarantee he'll sign there, says Phil Mackey of ESPN 1500 (Twitter links). Last night we heard that the Phillies are seriously pursuing Cuddyer.
- Approximately ten teams have expressed interest in Josh Willingham so far, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution (via Twitter). O'Brien adds that the Braves, who could use a power-hitting outfielder, are not one of those clubs.
- With the Orioles close to hiring Dan Duquette, MASN's Roch Kubatko (Twitter link) talks to one O's person who calls Duquette "brilliant" and says no one is more connected in Asian and Latin American markets.
- As Alex Speier of WEEI writes, 60-year-old Pete Mackanin, a managerial candidate for the Cubs and Red Sox, would be an unconventional choice - no one 60 or older has been hired for his first full-time managerial job since Bobby Mattick in 1980 with the Blue Jays.
- Jim Thome doesn't seem to be a great fit in Philadelphia, says ESPN.com's Keith Law (Insider link). The Phillies agreed to sign the 41-year-old slugger to a one-year deal and introduced him at a news conference this afternoon.
- Rick Sofield, who has played and coached with Clint Hurdle in the past, is the latest addition to the Pirates' staff, reports Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- The Mets are attempting to attract potential investors by agreeing to pay an annual interest on minority stakes, according to a New York Post report.
In today's Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney explained how Michael Cuddyer's versatility makes him a great fit for many teams, including the Phillies. Last night we learned that Philadelphia is seriously pursuing the long-time Twin. Here's the rest of Olney's hot stove talk...
- Jim Thome has told friends that he could use the offseason to prepare himself to play first base once or twice a week next year. Thome agreed to a one-year deal to rejoin the Phillies yesterday, and Ryan Howard could miss the start of the season after rupturing his Achillies.
- Olney knows of about "a dozen assistant-level executives" that have passed on interviewing for the Orioles' still vacant GM job.
- Rival executives have told Olney that Jair Jurrjens' trade value was probably at its highest this past July (Twitter link). The Braves are reportedly open to moving Jurrjens, as well as Martin Prado.
- In another tweet, Olney adds that Jurrjens still has plenty of trade value. He figures the right-hander would be among the most coveted free agent starters if he was on the open market.
The Phillies agreed to bring Jim Thome back earlier today, and now they're after another player that wore a Twins' uniform in 2011. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the Phillies are in serious pursuit of Michael Cuddyer, and his friendship with Thome could work in Philadelphia's favor.
Cuddyer, 33 in March, would help the Phillies in a number of ways. As a right-handed bat, he'd balance out their left-handed heavy lineup. His versatility would also allow him to fill in at first while Ryan Howard is recovering from his ruptured Achillies, platoon with Domonic Brown in the outfield, and even spell Placido Polanco at the hot corner on occasion.
A career .272/.343/.451 hitter, Cuddyer pounded lefties to the tune of .311/.403/.589 in 2011. He's a Type-A free agent and the Twins will certainly offer him arbitration, so the Phillies would have to surrender their first round pick to Minnesota if an agreement is reached.