Miguel Tejada Rumors

Rosenthal On Fielder, Marlins, Yankees, Giants

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports brings us another edition of Full Count.  Here are some highlights..

  • Prince Fielder is off to a great start and one GM predicts that he'll be one of the most interesting free agents of all-time.  The GM says that Fielder runs hard and is more athletic than most people think.  He's about to turn 27 years old which means that he's about four-and-a-half years younger than Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols.  A team like the Cubs could use Fielder against Pujols, saying that if he doesn't meet their price, they could sign Fielder instead.
  • The Marlins are second in the National League in ERA and first in bullpen ERA by a wide margin.  Theyr'e going to have to keep winning with pitching as Hanley Ramirez is off to a slow start, Logan Morrison is out with an injured foot and Mike Stanton still hasn't found his form since coming back from a hamstring strain.  Last week, Rosenthal pointed out the potential availability of Mark DeRosa and this week he says that the veteran would be a perfect fit in Florida.
  • The Yankees will soon face some decisions regarding their rotation.  Kevin Millwood has an out in his contract if he's not in the majors by May 1st.  The club might have better options such as Adam Warren and possibly Hector Noesi or David Phelps.  In addition to those prospects, Carlos Silva is working his way back into shape and Phil Hughes is about to start a rehab assignment this week.
  • Miguel Tejada is off to a rough start in 2011 as he looks less-than-sharp in the field and is hitting just .209/.239/.328.  The Giants don't have any great internal options at shortstop, so Rosenthal says to keep an eye on Jose Reyes, Marco Scutaro, J.J. Hardy as possible trade targets.

Giants Sign Miguel Tejada

The Giants signed Miguel Tejada to a one-year contract, the team announced today. The deal is worth $6.5MM, including a $500K bonus, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes (on Twitter).

The Giants had been pursuing shortstops aggressively ever since Juan Uribe signed with the Dodgers. They matched Los Angeles' three-year, $21MM offer before moving on to other targets, according to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. The Giants appeared to have strong interest in Jason Bartlett, and even contacted Derek Jeter's agent. 

It's not clear whether the Giants will use Tejada at shortstop, but ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick hears that is their plan (Twitter link). Third baseman Pablo Sandoval is falling out of favor with the Giants, who have Freddy Sanchez at second base and utilityman Mark DeRosa. Wherever Bruce Bochy puts him, Tejada figures to stay on the field. He has been exceptionally durable this decade, averaging 158 games per season since 1999.

The 36-year-old played third for the Orioles before the Padres acquired him in a summer trade and made him their starting shortstop. Tejada batted .269/.312/.381 with 15 homers and 26 doubles in 681 plate appearances between the two leagues.

The Padres did not offer Tejada arbitration, so the Giants don't have to surrender a top pick to their division rival. SFX represents Tejada. 


Jason Bartlett Rumors: Tuesday

10:55pm: The Giants are not in on Bartlett, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (on Twitter). 

10:00pm: The Giants and Cardinals both added infielders today, but haven't completely ruled out acquiring Bartlett, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). Bartlett, a long shot for the Giants, would be insurance in case Pablo Sandoval's struggles continue.

8:59pm: The Giants are one of several clubs engaging the Rays in trade talks about Bartlett even after reaching a deal with Miguel Tejada, according to Scott Miller of CBS Sports.

5:00pm: The Giants are "wide open" on their options at short, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). They've considered Bartlett, Miguel Tejada, Orlando Cabrera and Marco Scutaro. Meanwhile, an Orioles source tells Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that the Rays and O's aren't moving closer to a deal involving Bartlett.

TUESDAY, 3:45pm: The Giants have become one of the most serious suitors for Bartlett, according to Rosenthal and Morosi.

MONDAY, 5:40pm: The Rays are moving closer to trading Jason Bartlett, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The reporters’ sources say the Dodgers’ deal with Juan Uribe accelerated trade talks. The Cardinals, Padres, Giants, Orioles and Pirates have all expressed interest in Bartlett, who is arbitration eligible for the third and final time this offseason.

The Rays appear to be looking for bullpen help in any trade involving Bartlett. If they do trade the 31-year-old, they’ll likely replace him with Reid Brignac, who played 50 games at short in 2010 and posted a higher OPS than Bartlett (.692 vs. .675). 

Bartlett slumped to .254/.324/.350 in 2010 after an All-Star season in 2009, but his career line (.281/.345/.385) suggests he's capable of more offense. He earned $4MM in 2010 and will likely earn over $5MM through arbitration in 2011.



Giants Notes: Jeter, Fontenot, Uribe, Tejada

The Giants have agreed to a deal with Miguel Tejada and may still be pursuing a deal for Jason Bartlett. Here's the latest on GM Brian Sabean's search for infielders:

  • The Giants contacted Derek Jeter's agent, according to the Wall Street Journal, but Brian Sabean explained to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle that team's discussions with Casey Close revolved around another client, Mike Fontenot. (Twitter link). Fontenot, a non-tender candidate, would earn over $1MM next winter if the Giants tender him a contract. 
  • Before the Dodgers signed former Giant Juan Uribe, San Francisco offered the infielder a three-year deal worth $20MM, according to Schulman (on Twitter). That's $1MM less than the Dodgers offered and $5MM less than Uribe was asking for.
  • The Giants weren't the only NL West team to lose an infielder to a division rival this week. The Padres spoke to Miguel Tejada's agent today, but weren't willing and/or able to match the Giants' $6.5MM offer, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times (on Twitter). 

Odds & Ends: Tigers, Orioles, Manny, Astros, Uribe

Happy birthday to two former All-Star catchers!  Future Hall-of-Famer Ivan Rodriguez turns 39 today, while Angels manager Mike Scioscia turns 52.

Some news items…


Cardinals, Giants, Padres Interested In Tejada

The Cardinals, Giants and Padres are expressing varying degrees of interest in Miguel Tejada, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes (link in Spanish). Some teams see Tejada as a shortstop and others see him as a third baseman, according to Rojas' source.

The 36-year-old played 58 games at short for the Padres after they acquired him from Baltimore, where he was playing third base. The Giants are focused on finding a shortstop and the Cardinals could use middle infield help.

Tejada could have earned a raise from his 2010 salary of $6MM had the Padres offered arbitration. The Padres did not offer arbitration, so teams will not have to surrender a pick to sign Tejada, a Type A free agent.

The six-time All-Star batted .269/.312/.381 with 15 homers between Baltimore and San Diego last year. He appeared in over 150 games for the 11th time in 12 seasons.


National League Free Agent Arbitration Offers

11 National League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll group them in this post.  For a fantastic customizable chart with all 65 Type A/B free agents and their decisions in real-time, click here.


Latin Links: Tejada, Uribe, Feliz, Cuban Players

Links from Spanish-language news sources…

  • Sources close to Miguel Tejada and Juan Uribe said the infielders will wait and see what kind of contract Derek Jeter signs before committing to anything on their own, according to ESPN Deportes' Enrique Rojas. Neither player is aspiring to Jeter-like money, Rojas writes, but they think Jeter will "establish the market value of veteran shortstops" and give their own respective values a boost. The Cardinals are supposedly interested in both players.
  • Neftali Feliz told Jose Caceres of Hoy he's heard rumors about the Rangers planning to move him to the rotation, but on the team's end, "Nobody has said anything to me." SI's Jon Heyman tweeted earlier today that the team would consider the move if they can't sign Cliff Lee.
  • Victor Mesa, a former Cuban National Team manager and one of the all-time greats of Cuban baseball, told the official government newspaper Trabajadores that the time has finally come for those in power to allow Cuban players to sign with foreign teams, conveys Diario de Cuba. "I think there could be incorporation [into foreign teams], so that they could spend eight years playing in our National Series and [sign] with our involvement, not independently," Mesa said. The most recent prominent player to flee the country is a speedy teenaged outfielder in the mold of Mesa himself: 17-year-old centerfielder Yasiel Balaguer, who arrived in Nicaragua a few days ago.

Cardinals Rumors: Pujols, Uribe, Tejada

Cardinals GM John Mozeliak would like to begin talks on an Albert Pujols extension "between now and the Christmas holiday," he told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Strauss has a source who believes Pujols "is unlikely to revisit the matter once the 2011 season opens."  At the least, Pujols figures to sign the third-largest contract in baseball history whether this winter or as a free agent after the '11 season.

Regarding infield upgrades, Mozeliak told Strauss Sunday that "we probably have more of an emphasis on short than second at this point."  They'd also like a utility infielder to back up David Freese at third base.  Unless Dan Uggla fits into the picture somewhere, free agents Juan Uribe and Miguel Tejada are on the Cardinals' radar according to Strauss.  Though they also have an eye on recently-posted infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Mozeliak "indicated the timing may not be right for the club to make such a heavy commitment for a Pacific Rim player."    

It's becoming more and more clear the Cardinals won't be moving Colby Rasmus; today Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports quoted a source who sees a 99% chance of the center fielder staying put.  Indeed, Mozeliak told Strauss Sunday that Rasmus is "almost impossible to replace."

One note you may have missed from yesterday: the team is growing more optimistic about signing Jake Westbrook, according to Rosenthal.


Latin Links: Beltre, Renteria, V-Mart, Balentien

Links from Spanish-language news sources, highlighted by a rumor-packed tweet from un hombre de Bristol (links in Spanish).

  • Enrique Rojas at ESPN Deportes says the A's are working hard to sign yet another third baseman. Only this time, it's Adrian Beltre, who reportedly turned down a three-year, $24MM offer from the team last winter.
  • In the same tweet, Rojas says the Dodgers are interested in Edgar Renteria and his willingness to play second base, notes that there is a "good market" for Miguel Tejada, and revives an old rumor with a question: "Vic-Mart with the Rays?"
  • According to Jorge Ebro at El Nuevo Herald, 17-year old Cuban centerfielder Yasiel Balaguer has defected to Nicaragua with hopes of signing with a Major League team. Ebro cites reports saying Balaguer's big draws are his explosive speed and throwing arm, though he has shown some offensive power as well in the Cuban National Series.
  • Former Mariner and Red Wladimir Balentien has told his usual Venezuelan Winter League team, the Leones de Caracas, that he can't play this winter because he has signed with a team in Japan, reports Cesar Augusto Marquez at Lider en Deportes. Marquez doesn't say which team Balentien has joined.