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- East Notes: Ibanez, Phillies, Mathis
- Blue Jays To Exercise J.A. Happ’s Option
- Central Notes: Maddon, Dirks, Giambi, Indians
- Alex Rios Hires Scott Boras
- Dodgers Decline Option On Chad Billingsley
- West Notes: Sandoval, Lewis, Ethier, Angels
- AL East Links: Chavez, Yankees, Breslow, Jays
- Angels Likely To Trade Kendrick Or Freese
- Rockies Exercise LaTroy Hawkins’ Option
- Mets Outright Satin, Rice, Eveland, Carlyle
- Cubs Hire Joe Maddon As Manager
- Yankees To Extend Qualifying Offer To David Robertson
- Rangers Decline Rios’ Option; Outright Adcock, Lucas, Figaro
- Brewers Exercise Mutual Option On Aramis Ramirez
- Rays Exercise Ben Zobrist’s Option
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Miguel Montero Rumors
Two of the NL West's biggest stars were sidelined today as Matt Kemp (left hamstring strain) and Troy Tulowitzki (strained left groin) were both placed on the 15-day disabled list. It's a particularly tough blow for Kemp, who had just returned on Tuesday from a DL stint due to the same injury.
Some other news from around the division….
- With the Diamondbacks making a $60MM commitment to Miguel Montero, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic looks at that deal's long-term impact on the Snakes' payroll.
- The Giants look like the clear winners of their offseason trades for Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera, writes John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. Jonathan Sanchez and Andres Torres (who were sent to the Royals and Mets, respectively, in those trades) have both struggled, while Pagan and Cabrera have helped anchor the Giants' lineup.
- "I never think about that," Cabrera told MLB.com's Chris Haft and Jay Lee in regards to a possible in-season extension. "I leave that to my agents. They're they ones who know. I never think about contracts, just about staying focused on baseball." ESPN's Buster Olney reported earlier today that the two sides hadn't made progress on a new contract. Earlier this month, I examined what a possible Cabrera extension could cost the Giants.
- The Giants, Diamondbacks and Dodgers are among the teams interested in Kevin Youkilis, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Los Angeles might be the most intriguing of these three, as the Dodgers are looking for position player help and would be the most able to absorb Youkilis' salary thanks to their new ownership group. The Phillies and Indians have also been scouting the Red Sox infielder, while the Reds don't seem interested.
Happy Memorial Day! Here are today’s links…
- It doesn't sound as though Javier Vazquez has baseball at the forefront of his mind. When asked what he's up to, friends of the pitcher told Peter Gammons of MLB.com (via Twitter) that he's playing semi-pro tennis. In April, the right-hander said that he's not planning on playing but also wasn't ready to announce his retirement.
- MLB announced an eight-week suspension for Juan Carlos Oviedo, the right-handed pitcher formerly known as Leo Nunez, for engaging in age and identity fraud (Twitter link). Oviedo is making his way back to the Marlins after a prolonged absence.
- Mike Puma of the New York Post wonders if Manny Acosta's days with the Mets could be numbered (Twitter link). Acosta has an 11.86 ERA after allowing three runs to the Phillies this afternoon.
- The Diamondbacks were willing to pay up to keep Miguel Montero’s two-way play on the roster, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes. While Montero isn’t hitting much so far this year, he has thrown out 39.2% of potential base stealers since the beginning of the 2011 season. He recently signed a five-year, $60MM contract with Arizona.
SATURDAY, 3:36pm: Montero will earn $10MM in 2013, $10MM in '14, $12MM in '15, $14MM in '16, and $14MM in '17, according to Keith Law of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
12:30pm: The team has officially announced the five-year extension with a press release.
FRIDAY: The Diamondbacks and catcher Miguel Montero have agreed to a five-year, $60MM contract extension, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). The deal is the richest in Arizona club history and is expected to be announced at a press conference tomorrow. ESPN's Buster Olney reports (via Twitter) that the contract doesn't afford Montero any no-trade protection.
The two sides had been discussing an extension over the winter and had seemingly tabled negotiations, though GM Kevin Towers said earlier this month that the D'Backs were open to in-season talks. Montero was scheduled to hit free agency this winter and would have been one of the more sought-after players on the market. Montero, an Octagon client, turns 29 in July.
Montero can probably thank Yadier Molina for his five-year, $75MM extension with the Cardinals in March that raised the bar for catcher contracts. As Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic points out on Twitter, the D'Backs originally offered Montero a four-year, $32MM deal in late February before talks broke off. Montero's wish for a contract similar to Victor Martinez's four-year, $50MM deal with the Tigers was more than granted in terms of length and dollars, if not in average annual value. Still, Montero's contract will award him the fifth-highest AAV for any catcher — Martinez is not included in that group since he has mostly been a DH since going to Detroit.
Montero broke out in 2011, hitting .282/.351/.469 in 2011, making his first All-Star Game and leading the league by throwing out 40% of baserunners attempting to steal. While his hitting has taken a step back (.255/.350/.343) thus far in 2012, his already-strong defense has improved even further, with a caught-stealing percentage of 59% (16 of 27).
Photo courtesy of Mark J. Rebilas/US Presswire
Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers confirmed that the club will be open to discussing a long-term deal with catcher Miguel Montero this season, according to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert and Tyler Emerick. Previously, the two sides agreed to table extension talks until after the season.
"We agreed with Miggy and his agent that we'd give it until the end of Spring Training, and if nothing happened then, we're certainly open throughout the season if he feels like he's comfortable," the GM said. "But any negotiations that we have, both sides decided to keep it confidential."
Even though Arizona is willing to talk about a contract extension with Montero during the season, Towers stopped short of saying that he would actually make him a proposal. Earlier today, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that he heard that talks between the two sides could start up soon. The 28-year-old is said to be seeking a four-year, $52MM contract.
Though offseason additions such as Albert Pujols and Heath Bell have disappointed so far this year, other free agent signings are playing well for new teams. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com puts together a list of 25 such players, including C.J. Wilson, Bartolo Colon and Edwin Jackson. Here’s more from Heyman:
- Heyman hears negotiations between the Diamondbacks and Miguel Montero could start up again soon (Twitter link). Montero, a free agent this offseason, has been seeking a four-year, $52MM deal.
- The Yankees want Mariano Rivera back in 2013, but he'll have to wait until the season ends to discuss a contract, per team policy (Twitter link).
- The Angels continue seeking relief help, Heyman tweets. However, few teams are looking to sell just yet.
- Fernando Rodney says he signed with the Rays because they believed in his ability. "With the Angels they tried to change my mechanics to throw more strikes,'' Rodney recalled. "Here they told me, you come here, we're not going to change anything.''
- Heyman suggests the Mets should extend manager Terry Collins for doing a “terrific job” (Twitter link).
- One management person suggested a five-year, $100MM deal could work for the Rangers and Josh Hamilton, Heyman reports. One agent says a seven or eight-year deal worth $25-30MM per season seems more appropriate, assuming there’s protection for the Rangers. For more on Hamilton’s next contract, check out this post from earlier today.
Former first overall draft pick Tim Beckham has been suspended for 50 games, MLB announced. The shortstop, who had reached Triple-A in the Rays' system, is in violation of MLB's drug policy for the second time. "I take full responsibility for my actions and I will use this experience to refocus my commitment to baseball," he said in a statement released by the team. Here are more links from around the league…
- Bobby Abreu could make sense for the Orioles, opines Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Nick Johnson remains hitless on the season and Nolan Reimold recently left the team to have numbness and tingling in his fingers examined.
- An arbitration claim for breach of contract has been filed against Yoenis Cespedes of the Athletics reports Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes. Edgar Mercedes, who helped represent Cespedes during his free agency, is owed 17% of the outfielder's earnings but has not yet been paid.
- It's encouraging that MLB suspended Tigers outfielder Delmon Young following last week's incident in New York City, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports writes. Young's actions will cost him millions, Morosi explains. Before the incident I suggested a multiyear deal was within reach for Young if he had a strong season. It's definitely harder to imagine any team making a multiyear commitment today.
- The Phillies announced that they selected the contract of right-hander Brian Sanches from Lehigh Valley. Sanches takes the place of David Herndon on the team’s active roster.
- One agent suggested to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that the Yankees might have interest in Aaron Cook if the Red Sox don’t make room for the right-hander on their roster by today (Twitter link). Cook can opt out of his deal with Boston if he’s not added to the roster today.
- There haven’t been recent talks between Mike Napoli and the Rangers or Miguel Montero and the Diamondbacks, Heyman tweets. Montero is looking for a four-year deal in the $52MM range and Napoli seeks more than that. Heyman suggests Napoli is more likely than Montero to sign an extension.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
It was on this day in 1983 that the Dodgers, after selling 27,000 season tickets, cut off season ticket sales for the upcoming season out of a desire to leave large quantities of seats available for walkup and group sales. The club could be on the way to rekindling this popularity in Los Angeles, as tickets are selling fast with the news that the Magic Johnson/Stan Kasten group has bought the team.
Some items from the Dodgers and elsewhere in the NL West…
- Miguel Montero is looking for a contract akin to Victor Martinez's four-year, $50MM deal with the Tigers, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Montero is entering the last year of his contract with the Diamondbacks and Heyman believes that the Snakes will have trouble re-signing the catcher at his desired price. While Yadier Molina's extension with the Cardinals raised the bar for catcher contracts, I think Montero needs one more big season to prove himself worth of a Martinez-esque deal. The D'Backs could also use V-Mart as a reverse example, pointing to his season-ending ACL injury as an example of why a catcher's health is tenuous (thought Martinez had mostly transitioned to a DH spot in Detroit) and why they'd be hesitant to make such a commitment to Montero.
- Montero wouldn't confirm his contract demands to Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona and said he "can’t really think about" potentially giving the Diamondbacks a hometown discount "right now" since he's focused on the upcoming season.
- The Diamondbacks are still getting trade inquiries about Gerardo Parra but the team isn't going to move the Gold Glover, tweets MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. Arizona GM Kevin Towers describes the trade market as "pretty quiet."
- Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle looks at the details of the Giants' TV contract, which runs through the 2032 season.
- In case you missed it earlier today, Giants CEO Larry Baer commented on the negotiations between the team and pending free agent Matt Cain.
- In an interview with Chris Russo of Mad Dog Radio on SiriusXM, Stan Kasten dismissed criticism that his group overpaid for the Dodgers and thought they met "the market value" for the team. Kasten did say that Mark Walter, the chief executive of Guggenheim Partners, views the Dodgers as "a gold standard asset that you just cannot acquire….there are values there that just transcend conventional return on investment metrics."
- Kasten has heard "generally favorable" impressions about Dodgers GM Ned Colletti and manager Don Mattingly and isn't planning to make any management changes, "but you don’t know anything until you work with people."
- Kasten said that the team will look into renovating, not replacing, Dodger Stadium. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, however, speculates that the Dodgers could build a new ballpark in downtown Los Angeles and sell the Chavez Ravine land to a group looking to build a stadium for a new NFL team for L.A.
Four teams have won the NL West since 2006 and the Rockies, the lone team never to win the division, have made the postseason twice in that six-year period. Here are the latest links on the NL West…
- The leaders of two failed bids for the Dodgers will appeal MLB's decision to a mediator, Bill Shaikin of the LA Times writes.
- Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com hears from sources who expect the Dodgers to bid aggressively on free agents once a new ownership group is in place.
- The Diamondbacks had been hoping to lock Miguel Montero up for $8MM per season, but he may cost $12MM now that Yadier Molina signed a deal worth $15MM annually, Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio reports (all links go to Twitter). Towers is already eyeing catchers in the minors and Majors, Bowden reports.
- The Diamondbacks are considering moving Josh Collmenter to the bullpen if and when a starting pitching prospect such as Trevor Bauer or Tyler Skaggs is ready, Bowden reports.
- GM Kevin Towers told Bowden the Diamondbacks have no interest in Ian Desmond. They were linked to the Nationals shortstop earlier this week.
Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers and catcher Miguel Montero announced today they'll shelve contract extension talks until after the season, with no hard feelings. The two sides were unable to find common ground, explained the GM. Montero said the D'Backs will be his offseason priority.
Montero, 28, will be eligible for free agency after the season. Last month, Montero and the D'Backs narrowly avoided an arbitration hearing, settling below the midpoint at $5.9MM. Given the difficulty in hammering out a 2012 contract, it's no surprise a long-term agreement could not be reached. Even with another strong offensive year it's unlikely Montero can approach Yadier Molina's new five-year, $75MM deal, but it may at least become a point of reference despite claims to the contrary. Montero will still have decent competition if he reaches free agency, with Mike Napoli, Russell Martin, and Chris Iannetta expected to be eligible. Montero is the youngest of the four.
It appears "likely" that MLB will expand the playoffs to include ten teams starting this season, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports. Talks to resolve scheduling obstacles have picked up in recent days as the March 1st deadline draws closer. Here are some links from around MLB…
- No new talks have taken place between the Diamondbacks and catcher Miguel Montero, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com tweets. The sides are up against a soft deadline of March 20th and are surely monitoring extension talks for backstops Russell Martin and Yadier Molina.
- Braves shortstop Jack Wilson will be sidelined with a right calf injury for four to six weeks, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said internal candidates such as Josh Wilson and Drew Sutton could back Tyler Pastornicky up until Wilson returns.
- Mike Minor annoyed Braves people by suggesting he'd like a trade if he isn't in the rotation, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets.