Miguel Cabrera Rumors
Rumor-man Jon Heyman has some good info from the GM meetings.
- Miguel Cabrera is officially available, as the Marlins have made calls to selected teams describing what they'd want in return. The main contenders for Cabrera are the Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, Giants, and Angels. Also, Paul Hoynes suggested this morning that the Indians could be in the mix. You know the drill - it takes 2-3 top flight prospects, at least one of them a blue chip pitcher. Heyman even says Cabrera could be combined with Dontrelle Willis to create the mother of all blockbusters. This package will exceed the one Texas got for Mark Teixeira. Cabrera has two full years left before free agency.
- Heyman names 12 other trade candidates, most of which we've discussed before. He mentions under Hank Blalock that the Dodgers and Red Sox have called. Suddenly there are tons of third basemen available.
- Mariano Rivera received a three-year, $39MM offer from the Yankees, about what we expected. He hasn't responded; he has all the leverage as the best free agent closer.
- The Rangers aren't interested in Barry Bonds, according to Jon Daniels.
According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, both Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis are available. We had heard previously that trade availability was limited to Cabrera, but Willis can definitely be discussed as well.
Rodriguez notes that trading a hitter of Cabrera's age and accomplishment is unprecedented. Good point. It wouldn't be surprising to see him stay put, given the enormous value of young starters like Phil Hughes and Clay Buchholz. It might be easier for the Marlins to reach an accord on a Willis trade.
According to Ken Davidoff of Newsday, the Yankees aren't likely to trade for Joe Crede. They're aiming for bigger fish like Mike Lowell, Adrian Beltre, Miguel Cabrera, and Scott Rolen. Garrett Atkins has been deemed unavailable. Additionally, Kenny Williams hopes to deal Crede relatively quickly and the Yankees are in no rush to fill their third base vacancy. Maybe the Phillies will jump into the fray for Crede.
Lowell at least won't involve giving up young talent. But there are some questions about how he'd hit away from Fenway. And we're talking four or even five years to lure him. Beltre would be a fine acquisition and is affordable, though I don't know why the Mariners would part with him. And the Ms would want at least one blue-chipper, I'd imagine. The Yanks would have to mortgage tons of young talent for Cabrera. Davidoff's dark horse, Rolen, suddenly makes the most sense. It would be a salary dump and a health risk, but 3/36 isn't that scary for the Yanks. And it's less than Lowell would sign for.
Davidoff has a tidbit at the end of his column, a one-liner, that the Yanks are likely to re-sign Mariano Rivera at three years, $40MM soon. I'm surprised Newsday didn't call more attention to that part.
This is a promising hot stove season with tons of angles to entertain us. Miguel Cabrera shouldn't get lost in the shuffle - this is a bona fide 24 year-old superstar, and he's available via trade.
Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post lists the reasons - Cabrera is entering eight-figure salary territory, and he's been getting lazy. Capozzi's teams source says the idea of the Marlins signing Alex Rodriguez has no substance. But they would certainly trade Cabrera if they received a sweet package as they did for Josh Beckett. Translation: Phil Hughes or Clay Buchholz. Joel Sherman's source says this won't be an auction - the Marlins will target players and teams and make their demands. You have to imagine Hughes and Buchholz are on that short list. Michael Silverman expects the Red Sox to inquire on Cabrera, among others.
Capozzi also indicates that Dontrelle Willis is likely to stay put.
Your daily collection of random rumors and links...
- MLB.com's Free Agent Frenzy has begun. You can win Opening Day tickets by closely predicting where 15 free agents will land. A good strategic move would be to wait until deadline day, November 15th, before submitting. That way you'll have more info (keep your browser right here for all the latest free agent info). By the way, my Top 50 Free Agents list should be ready around Monday.
- Fielding Bible has their 2007 awards (click the Winners tab). So much for those who say Andruw is slipping!
- Miguel Cabrera is available, according to Peter Gammons. Gammons thinks any package would have to begin with a top pitching prospect such as Phil Hughes, Clay Buchholz, or Clayton Kershaw.
- Sounds like the Rockies want to keep the 2007 club mostly intact by bringing back free agents (Kaz Matsui, Yorvit Torrealba, Matt Herges, LaTroy Hawkins). However Josh Fogg and Jeremy Affeldt may be allowed to leave.
- Though they're on his list, it doesn't sound like the D'Backs can afford Curt Schilling.
- The A's are talking about re-signing Shannon Stewart, but I don't see it. That would have to cost at least $3-4MM. Meanwhile, Mike Piazza might retire. Susan Slusser talks about how the A's would receive compensation for Stewart and Piazza, both Type B free agents. But that's only if they offer them arbitration, which is questionable.
- Comeback time! Matt Mantei is all surgically repaired and wants to get back into action. He feels great! He'd take a minor league contract and/or play for the minimum. Can't wait til spring, when we can hear about all the guys who are in the best shape of their careers. The Tigers might need him with Joel Zumaya's new, odd injury.
- A couple of 40+ southpaws will pitch in '08 - Tom Glavine and David Wells.
- The O's will pass on Kris Benson at $7.5MM next year, no surprise. He had rotator cuff surgery last March.
- U.S.S. Mariner's "reasonable" offseason plan.
As usual, Tom Krasovic has the scoop with the Padres.
- The Padres expect Greg Maddux back, at a salary near the $10MM he earned in '07. One way it could happen - Mad Dog declines his $8.75MM player option and the Padres exercise their $11MM club option. Otherwise they'll just tear it up and figure something out.
- The Padres will pass on available third basemen Alex Rodriguez and Miguel Cabrera. It sounds like a Padres team source is indicating the Marlins plan to shop Cabrera aggressively. As if this offseason wasn't going to be crazy enough, here's another marquee player on the market. The Padres have some depth at third base, so they'll sit out.
- Apparently the Elias rankings have leaked out somewhere, though I haven't seen the list yet. Michael Barrett and Milton Bradley both earned Type A designation, though it won't matter if the Padres don't offer arbitration to either. With either player there's a decent chance he would accept the offer. Barrett maybe not, as he might be able to find a two-year deal elsewhere. Still, it'd be risky. Unfortunately Mike Cameron and Doug Brocail got the Type B designation (not that that makes sense). Cameron will probably get offered arbitration; it would've been nice to get the Braves' 18th overall pick.
Clark Spencer writes of the possibility of the Yankees going after Miguel Cabrera to fill their third base vacancy (assuming M-Cab can hold up at the position for a few more years).
Cabrera's salary will jump from $7.4MM past $11MM this year through arbitration. A year from now he could be looking at $15-17MM.
Spencer sees a partial match in center fielder Melky Cabrera; the Marlins have had instability at that position since Juan Pierre was dealt. Add Phil Hughes to the package and I think this could get done. The Yankees seem to favor Joba Chamberlain over Hughes (I don't have any proof for that) and Chien-Ming Wang will be getting pricey. Ian Kennedy is solid but the Marlins are going to want a front-rotation guy like Hughes.
One consideration is that if Cabrera can't stay at third base, they might have to move him to first and pass on Mark Teixeira next winter. But as I said earlier, maybe the Yanks will take a break from Boras clients anyway. Hank Steinbrenner seems primed to make all sorts of petty/irrational decisions. That should be fun to watch.
The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson has all sorts of info concerning the state of the Florida Marlins.
- We've heard this before - the Fish can't afford to keep both Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera. Do you trade the cheaper guy, or the more valuable one? As Jackson says, it really just depends on the offers. It wouldn't be a complete shock to see both traded if the Marlins received separate knockout offers on each.
- The Marlins are likely to non-tender Miguel Olivo, with an eye on bringing Paul Lo Duca back to Florida to provide veteran leadership for the young pitching staff. Other free agents on the radar: Yorvit Torrealba, Michael Barrett, Jason Kendall, and former Marlin Ramon Castro. Several of these are $5MM players, so the team's owner would have to sign off.
- Some kind of MLB-ready starting pitching is likely to come back in a Willis or Cabrera deal. But otherwise the Fish will try an injury-discounted guy like Kris Benson. The market has no shortage of these types - Matt Clement, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Jason Jennings, Jon Lieber, and Jaret Wright all fit the mold.
- The Marlins will listen on Scott Olsen, but aren't opposed to keeping him.
- For now, Hanley Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera are staying put on the left side of the infield. Good luck improving the defense.
- The Marlins would like to bring Aaron Boone back for '08.
Marlins starters posted a 5.58 ERA this year, worst in the National League. The five with the most starts were Dontrelle Willis, Scott Olsen, Sergio Mitre, Byung-Hyun Kim, and Rick VandenHurk. Only Mitre was able to avoid posting an ERA above 5.00. Marlins president Larry Beinfest has labeled the rotation the team's #1 area of need this winter.
Olsen and Mitre are cheap, and you can find positives with both. VandenHurk whiffed a batter per inning, and deserves a look in the #5 slot. Kim will depart via free agency. Josh Johnson will miss all of 2008 with Tommy John surgery. Anibal Sanchez hopes to be ready for Spring Training, but he's a question mark coming off labrum surgery. Ricky Nolasco is also an unknown after a season lost to elbow problems.
What to do with Willis? Juan C. Rodriguez of the Florida Sun-Sentinel notes that he's likely to earn around $8.25MM in 2008. That's an added $2MM, plus another $4MM for Miguel Cabrera. If the payroll is to stay at $32MM, one of them has to go. Rodriguez argues that Willis is worth his salary even with reduced expectations. Plus, trading him now would be selling as low as possible.
The pitching staff would receive a huge boost by better defense, and that's a close second on Beinfest's list. The Marlins led the league in errors and were last in defensive efficiency. That last part will definitely inflate your pitchers' ERAs.
It's probably best not to trade Cabrera, but rather whip him into shape. If the Fish can't get him to play a credible third base they should move him to first. Hanley could be a consideration for center field, and then Cabrera could be paired with perhaps a Cesar Izturis or Omar Vizquel on a cheap deal.
How would you fix the Marlins, given these two areas of need?
If Cubs make the playoffs, they will be glad not to see the Marlins in the postseason. After last night's defeat, the Cubs haven't beaten the Fish since April... of 2006.
Lots of buzz today, so here are some Rumors and Questions on the day:
- Florida Marlins Fans, it may be disheartening for you, both of you, to know that David Hyde (with some help from Bill Murray) believes as though either Miguel Cabrera or Dontrelle Willis will indeed be dealt this offseason. Tim crunched the numbers and thinks they should shed Willis' contract. If I had to choose, I'd agree with Mr. Hyde (not Dr. Jekyll) and wave goodbye to Miggy before the D-Train rolls out. Cabrera is indisputably elite and could net a Hanley Ramirez or two. Meanwhile, Dontrelle's value is at an all time low. Who would you deal?
- Speaking of former Marlins, Buster Olney thinks the Tigers will re-sign Todd Jones. When asked who will close for the Tigers next year, Manager Jim Leyland responded with a definitive "don't know". Well, maybe he's getting forgetful in his old age, but we all know who: Joel Zumaya. But is he ready? Chris McKosky of the Detroit News isn't sure. What do you think? If only he could lay off that Guitar Hero...
- The Rangers and the Twins have each expressed interest in both Torii Hunter and, who else, Barry Bonds. Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire weighs in positively on Bonds, while Joe Christensen says chances are slim but don't rule it out. Shooter Charley Walters says the Twins will try to re-sign Hunter. But Hunter is from outside Arlington, Texas and when asked if he's thought a little about going home, he told reporters "I haven't thought about it a little bit. I've thought about it a lot a bit." Meanwhile, the Rangers players say "Thumbs up!" to Bonds. I think the Rangers are a natural fit for both of these vets.
- Also, Ken Rosenthal's latest video on Foxsports.com breaks down the fates of Managers-Across-The-League. Interestingly, he begins by praising Joe Torre for doing maybe his best job ever, and then notes how if the Yankees stumble in the postseason he might not be back...
Posted by: Nat Boyle