Miguel Cabrera Rumors

Detroit’s 2011 Payroll Situation

Once the Tigers traded Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson for four pre-arbitration eligible players, the thought was that owner Mike Ilitch was trimming payroll after the recession hit Detroit especially hard. However, he then approved a massive extension for ace Justin Verlander as well as the signing of Johnny Damon, and now his team's Opening Day payroll is expected to be somewhere around $130MM, up from $115MM last year.

Lynn Henning of The Detroit News wrote about the payroll savings GM Dave Dombrowski will enjoy after the season, which are pretty significant. Here's a look at the money the Tigers have coming off the books after the 2010 season…

That's $57.025MM in savings right there, and the team would be wise to avoid letting Magglio Ordonez reach the 540 plate appearances needed for his $15MM option to vest.

Ilitch isn't shy about spending big on the free agent market, and he'll have the money available to add a big bat to complement Miguel Cabrera (Jayson Werth, Aramis Ramirez if he declines his option?) as well as another elite starter to a rotation that already includes Verlander, Rick Porcello, and Max Scherzer (Josh Beckett, Cliff Lee?) after the season. Keep in mind that I was just throwing some names out there off our 2011 free agents list, and that the Tigers have not been linked to any of those players in any rumors we've seen.

The Tigers are already in a position to compete in the AL Central, and once they shed some dead money after the season, they'll have a chance to jump ahead of the pack if they spend wisely. 


Cafardo On Sheets, Lowell, Pineiro

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wonders why more teams don't take advantage of arbitration hearings. Clubs do have a history of winning cases against their players in recent years. Here are Cafardo's latest rumors:

  • A Red Sox source tells Cafardo that it's unlikely the team signs Ben Sheets. Not a surprise, given Boston's rotation depth.
  • One scout is certain Ron Mahay will be on a major league roster by the time Spring Training starts. 
  • An NL scout considers Miguel Batista a "very serviceable piece."
  • Since Miguel Cabrera was in rehab for alcoholism this offseason, teams weren't eager to trade prospects for the first baseman and pay his $20MM salary.
  • As we heard last week, the Twins are interested in signing Jim Thome. 
  • The Red Sox and Angels considered swapping Mike Lowell for Gary Matthews Jr. before concerns about Lowell's thumb emerged. 
  • An AL GM considers Joel Pineiro "another middle-rotation guy." 

Cafardo On Damon, Hernandez, Delgado

In his new column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe discusses the Red Sox' decision to move Jacoby Ellsbury from center field to left field, concluding that the 26-year-old should excel in left. Here are some other notes from Cafardo's piece:

  • Despite having a productive season, Johnny Damon acknowledges that he's expecting to take a pay cut. Right now though, he isn't willing to slice his earnings in half, which is what he'd be doing if he accepted a deal worth $6-7MM annually, after making $13MM in each of the last four years. Is returning to the Bronx still a possibility for Damon? "I don’t know. I haven’t had any conversations with them recently. Nothing would surprise me, but there’s nothing there right now."
  • Talks between Felix Hernandez and the Mariners are "getting serious" and there's a chance that they could work out a long-term deal before the season begins.
  • The Mets and Orioles are the primary suitors for Carlos Delgado. Baltimore is more interested in Delgado as a first baseman than a designated hitter, since they'd prefer a right-handed DH.
  • Gary Sheffield still feels he can be an everyday player, but says a market hasn't developed for him yet this offseason.
  • Cafardo describes the lack of interest in Miguel Tejada so far as "baffling."
  • Although Miguel Cabrera's name popped up earlier in the winter as a possible trade candidate, it looks like the enormous price tag (in terms of both his salary and the required return) has quieted those rumors for now.
  • Colby Lewis' impressive numbers in Japan over the past two seasons could earn him a multi-year contract. Cafardo says that at least six teams are interested, and that the Red Sox aren't one of them.


Gammons On Bay, Holliday, Gonzalez, Cabrera

Yesterday, Peter Gammons appeared in-studio on WEEI with Dale & Holley to talk about the state of the offseason in Boston.  Here are some notes from his hour-long chat…

  • It's unlikely that the BoSox will be able to bring back Jason Bay, as they already made him the best offer that he has received.
  • Gammons quips that Bay would "rather play in Beirut than Queens" and adds that he should have taken Boston's offer of $60MM over four years back in July.
  • As for the Mets, if they are unable to land Bay, Gammons doesn't see them adding anybody else of a similar caliber.  With their unwillingness to go over the luxury tax threshold, they are more likely to pocket the money to make a mid-season deal.
  • Gammons calls Scott Boras "brilliant," but questions his wisdom in turning down the five-year $82.5MM offer the Red Sox made Matt Holliday.  That could be the best offer he has seen so far.
  • While we have heard rumors of an Adrian Gonzalez-to-Boston swap for months, the two sides have yet to exchange names.  Gammons says it would be virtually impossible for the Padres to deal him before July.
  • Miguel Cabrera could become available if the Tigers stumble out of the gate.  If he is available, Boston would be interested, despite concerns about him off-the-field.
  • Gammons expects Josh Beckett to be the second most-coveted free agent on the market next winter, behind Cliff Lee.  Naturally, a healthy season would go a long way towards boosting his value.
  • After reading the post here on MLBTradeRumors about Frank Wren saying that the Braves were going to get a major bat, he was surprised to later find out that the slugger was Troy Glaus.  Trading Javier Vazquez and Rafael Soriano was about saving $16MM, not about the players they received.

Red Sox Rundown: Kelly, Bay, Dice-K

Several Red Sox links floating around out there, let's put them all together to simplify things:

  • Amalie Benjamin at the Boston Globe reports that Sox prospect Casey Kelly has decided to focus entirely on pitching. Kelly had worked both as a pitcher and a shortstop, but has decided to take his four-pitch arsenal full-time. Red Sox brass rave about Kelly's potential, and he's been mentioned frequently in connection to Roy Halladay trades. Kelly, 19 this past season, posted a 2.08 ERA and 0.85 WHIP through 95 innings between Class-A Greenville and High-A Salem this year. He walked just 16 overall and allowed only four home runs.
  • Nick Cafardo looks at the developing market for Jason Bay, and quotes both Theo Epstein and Terry Francona as saying Bay is their priority. Epstein recognizes that there are alternatives, including Matt Holliday and Josh Willingham, should Bay land with another club.
  • Additionally, in the same piece, Cafardo adds that the Sox haven't ruled out John Lackey, and are trying to keep blockbuster windows open to explore deals for Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Cabrera, and Halladay.
  • Peter Abraham looks at the repaired relationship between Daisuke Matsuzaka and the Red Sox organization.
  • WEEI.com's Alex Speier analyzes what the Red Sox offense would look like in 2010 without Bay orHolliday, but with Marco Scutaro in the picture.

Twitter Rumors: Doumit, Mahay, Wolf, Jenkins

Collecting some tweets I couldn't quite turn into posts…

  • Four unknown teams are in on Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit, says Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
  • The Nationals have interest in free agent catcher Brad Ausmus, says MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
  • The Red Sox have interest in free agent lefty Ron Mahay, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. The 38-year-old posted a 4.29 ERA, 7.5 K/9, and 3.9 BB/9 in 50.3 innings for the Royals and Twins this year.  Two years ago he was quite a hot commodity on the free agent market.
  • ESPN's Jerry Crasnick says Brett Myers is seeking a two-year deal.  The Rangers and other teams are interested at one year.  Crasnick wrote a few days ago that the Astros are also interested, while Andrew Baggarly named the Giants as a suitor today.
  • Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times shoots down Danny Knobler's rumor that the Pirates have interest in Juan Pierre.  Nonetheless, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro tweets of interest from the Pirates, White Sox, and a third team.
  • ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Yankees want to resolve the Andy Pettitte/Johnny Damon situations before moving on to Hideki Matsui and other starting pitcher options.
  • White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen told Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune that the Sox are not in the market for a pure DH.
  • The Brewers are making a "strong run" at Randy Wolf, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
  • Ruben Amaro Jr.'s comment that "those are guys we will probably count on" implies relievers Chad Durbin and Clay Condrey will be tendered contracts by the Phillies (Andy Martino reporting).
  • Crasnick says Geoff Jenkins wants to make a comeback in 2010 and has been working out at first base and outfield in hopes of landing a bench role.
  • Crasnick says to expect the Cubs to tender a contract to Mike Fontenot on Saturday.
  • Bill Shanks quoting Braves manager Bobby Cox: "clubs are knocking on the door for Kelly Johnson."  I imagine Johnson will be dealt by Saturday.
  • ESPN's Gordon Edes says that while Red Sox owner John Henry is a big fan of Miguel Cabrera from their Marlins days, the Red Sox "don't have the Major League-ready position players Detroit wants in return."
  • Crasnick expects Elmer Dessens to re-sign with the Mets, though the pitcher has talked to the Dodgers and Padres.
  • Yahoo's Steve Henson says the Braves want to move Derek Lowe or Javier Vazquez, but not Kenshin Kawakami.
  • Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer says the Phillies will meet with Chan Ho Park's agent today "and attempt to resolve their differences over Park's value."  The Phils did not offer arbitration to Park, a Type B free agent.  Park craves another shot at starting, which won't happen in Philly.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Phillies like Brandon Lyon, but aren't "willing to pay the price for him."  Lyon is said to be seeking a multiyear deal.  He is expected to turn down the Tigers' offer of arbitration today.  The Yankees have been named as another suitor.
  • Crasnick says the Astros "have very little money to spend, unless Drayton McLane suddenly has a change of heart."

Tigers Notes: Needs, Cabrera, Jackson, Granderson

Steve Kornacki takes a late-night look at what Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski needs heading into the Winter Meetings. Not surprisingly, help at the back of the bullpen, a spark plug at the top of the lineup, and a shortstop top Kornacki's list. Here's the highlights of the piece:

  • With Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney expected to receive multi-year offers, Detroit will need to address its bullpen. Kornacki doesn't like the Tigers chances to sign the two. Lyon's agent has "guaranteed" his client will receive multiple years.
  • The Tigers could re-sign glove man Adam Everett if a shortstop can't be had via trade. Everett had yet another strong season at shortstop, posting a 13.6 UZR/150. They've also been linked to Bobby Crosby, but I don't think any team would feel comfortable entering the season with Crosby as their primary shortstop option.
  • Kornacki would be surprised to see Miguel Cabrera dealt anywhere. "Nothing even remotely possible has been reported," writes Kornacki.
  • If Edwin Jackson or Curtis Granderson is dealt, it will be in to make the team better and not to slash payroll. With Seattle's recent agreement with Chone Figgins pending, if the Angels want to acquire Granderson to fill the leadoff spot, the price may have just gone up.
  • Kornacki says the biggest offensive need is a leadoff man, and suggests scenarios for both Juan Pierre and Carl Crawford.
  • Kornacki suggests packaging Jackson and Carlos Guillen to bring Pierre and George Sherrill to Detroit.
  • He suggests a one-for-one swap of Granderson for Crawford, provided Dombrowski can extend Crawford. The thinking there is that Granderson will be more affordable for the Rays down the line.

Kornacki finishes up by reminding how active Dombrowski was at last year's meetings. If you'll remember, he acquired Gerald Laird on day one, signed Adam Everett two days later, and on the final day sent Matt Joyce to Tampa Bay in exchange for Jackson. He also spent a great deal of time attempting to acquire J.J. Putz.

Kornacki opines that the biggest move will come somewhere we're not looking, which always makes for fun discussion. Any thoughts on what Dombrowski may have up his sleeve? If you're still up with me, let's hear it in the comments.


Tigers Unlikely To Deal Cabrera Anytime Soon

Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com reports that two people “with knowledge of the Tigers’ plans heading into the winter meetings downplayed the possibility that Miguel Cabrera will be traded in the coming week,” with one going so far as to say the chances of a deal were “pretty remote.”

Morosi’s sources say the team is more likely to move Edwin Jackson and/or Curtis Granderson, and that even though Justin Verlander isn’t on the trade block, his future is “indirectly” tied to what happens in the next few weeks.

Cabrera is owed $126MM over the next six years, and given the team’s financial situation, the case can be made that they’d be better off using that money to fill multiple holes.


Odds & Ends: Matsui, Cardinals, Arb Offers

Links for Monday…


Odds & Ends: Johnson, Cabrera, Mets, Contreras

Here's some discount links on Black Friday…