Miguel Olivo Rumors
If the Mets decide to pursue a free agent catcher, Miguel Olivo will be at the top of their list of targets, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The club greatly prefers Olivo to other options like Matt Treanor and Chris Snyder, says Rubin.
Olivo has been linked to the Mets multiple times already this offseason, since the Mariners declined his 2013 option. An October report suggested New York was eyeing the 34-year-old veteran, while a report earlier this week indicated he could be a good fit to platoon with Josh Thole.
According to Kevin Burkhardt of SNY.tv (Twitter link), the Mets aren't enamored with any free agent catchers and would prefer to land a backstop via trade, which is still a possibility with R.A. Dickey on the trade block. However, nothing concrete is developing on that front, says Rubin.
- At or near the top of Sandy Alderson's shopping list during the Winter Meetings is a catcher who can share the job with Josh Thole or even take it outright, says Mike Puma of the New York Post. If the team were to sign a free agent, the most likely scenario would be a right-handed hitter like Miguel Olivo, who could platoon with Thole. A.J. Pierzynski figures to be out of the Mets' price range, says Puma.
- The Mets have been underwhelmed by the offers they've received for R.A. Dickey so far, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Martino adds in a second tweet that the Mets genuinely don't seem to know whether they'll trade Dickey or extend him.
- While Mets GM Sandy Alderson acknowledges that Dickey's situation needs to be resolved, he says that resolution doesn't necessarily need to happen during the Winter Meetings, according to Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger.
- The Mets are a team whose direction this offseason has yet to be determined, writes ESPN.com's Buster Olney in his Insider-only blog.
- One minority owner of the Mets has been accused of fraud, as a New York Times report details.
Even in the middle of the World Series, baseball people continue to talk about embattled Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. News on Cabrera and other notes from today's column..
- Sherman spoke with a group of baseball executives about where Cabrera will sign and the Mets and Phillies both came up regularly. The Mets could look to Cabrera as corner outfield insurance against Jason Bay and Lucas Duda if he is affordable. Such a move would make even more sense if they are unable to retain Scott Hairston.
- The majority of the execs see Cabrera winding up with a one-year deal in the $2-$5MM range to audition himself. One exec could see him getting $10-$12MM while another said he could possibly get one year at $8-10MM.
- The Mets are unlikely to obtain catcher Kelly Shoppach and they are instead eyeing free agent Miguel Olivo. When the Mets were combing the trade market for catchers this summer, the Mets had Olivo as a secondary candidate to the Rockies' Ramon Hernandez before ultimately trading for Shoppach. The Mariners announced on Wednesday that they would not pick up Olivo’s $3MM option for 2013.
- Yankees officials never saw Cabrera as a negative influence on Robinson Cano the way that people outside of the organization did, but he doesn't look to be a great fit regardless. The Yankees might not be able to offer the certainty of playing time that Cabrera will need to rebuild his value.
The Mariners announced that they have declined their 2013 option for Miguel Olivo. Olivo's contract included a $3MM club option for 2013, but the Mariners preferred the $750K buyout. The catcher will hit free agency once the World Series ends.
Olivo, 34, appeared in 87 games last year, posting a .222/.239/.381 batting line in 323 plate appearances. He hit 12 home runs in total, doing more damage against left-handers (seven homers, .657 OPS) than right-handers (five homers, .590 OPS) as usual. Olivo prevented 31% of stolen base attempts against him this past season.
1:35pm: The Mets see the Rockies' desire to trade Hernandez as a salary dump and are unwilling to offer much of a prospect in return, writes Sherman.
1:10pm: Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets the asking price for Hernandez is still high, so it's doubtful anything will happen in the next two weeks.
11:20am: Nothing is imminent between the Mets and Rockies but talks could accelerate when Hernandez comes off of the disabled list this week, tweets Troy Renck of The Denver Post.
10:22am: The Mets are very interested in Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez, a source tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Other backstops that interest GM Sandy Alderson & Co. include Kelly Shoppach of the Red Sox and the Mariners' Miguel Olivo.
One source told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that the discussions are serious enough that he believes that Hernandez will wind up as a Met, though he stopped short of offering a guarantee. The source added that Alderson was trying to expand the deal to include left-handed reliever Matt Reynolds.
Rubin notes that Rockies like Mets infielder Justin Turner and tried to acquire him last offseason before obtaining Marco Scutaro. He suggests that the Mets could get a deal done without losing key minor leaguers and instead draw from the likes of shortstop Wilfredo Tovar, right-hander Domingo Tapia, outfielder Matt Den Dekker, and left-hander Josh Edgin.
Hernandez is nearly ready to return to action after suffering a hand injury, but Wilin Rosario has since taken over as Colorado's starting catcher. The 36-year-old is in the first season of a two-year, $6.4MM pact.
A number of iconic players are in contract years, so ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark looks ahead to their free agent stock and provides other rumors from around the league. Here are the details:
- No one Stark spoke with predicts David Ortiz will leave the Red Sox for another team.
- Jose Reyes will be the number two free agent on the market this winter behind only Albert Pujols, according to one executive.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. acknowledges that it wouldn't be easy to replace Jimmy Rollins, even though the shortstop is no longer an MVP-caliber player. The Phillies ‘poked around’ for possible alternatives at short last offseason, according to Stark, who predicts a two-year deal for Rollins and the Phils this winter.
- Prince Fielder will no doubt sign a lucrative free agent deal, but one executive says the first baseman’s body will be an issue: "It has been since high school, and it always will be." Fielder is 27 now, so an eight-year deal would expire after his age-35 season.
- Pujols will test the market, but Stark and his sources find it hard to believe that he’d leave St. Louis for any old team. One executive predicts that the Cubs are the Cardinals’ main threat.
- The Cubs aren’t ready to start selling and haven’t started shopping Carlos Zambrano, despite his recent outburst.
- The Red Sox offered Miguel Olivo a one-year deal before re-signing Jason Varitek last offseason. Olivo eventually signed a two-year deal with the Mariners.
- The Rangers are ‘stepping up’ their search for a right-handed setup man and maintain interest in Nationals reliever Todd Coffey.
- Rival teams say the Tigers are looking for a left-handed reliever. Southpaws Daniel Schlereth, David Purcey, Charlie Furbush and Adam Wilk are currently in Detroit’s bullpen.
Happy 51st birthday to Steve Sax! Sax was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1982, played on two World Series champions, made five All-Star teams, and holds a special bit of pop culture history as one of Mr. Burns' softball ringers on The Simpsons.
Today's news tidbits...
- As part of a Dodgers-related mailbag, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick cites the Blue Jays, Marlins and Indians as teams that could offer Eric Chavez more playing time than the Dodgers could. Toronto's interest in Chavez is well-known, but Florida and Cleveland are new to the mix. Other teams known to be looking are Chavez include the Yankees, White Sox and Mariners.
- The Angels are looking for a leadoff man and bench help, and don't seem to be interested in Vladimir Guerrero, tweets Jon Heyman of SI.com. The Orioles look like they're Guerrero's most ardent suitors at this point.
- A.J. Pierzynski tells Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune that he was all but officially signed by the Dodgers before the White Sox swooped in with an offer to bring the catcher back to Chicago. "It all came together in a 15-minute span," Pierzynski said. "I was pretty much resigned to the fact I wasn't coming back." Had Pierzynski not returned, the White Sox would have focused on Miguel Olivo as a replacement behind the plate.
- The Chone Figgins-to-Oakland rumor looks to be dead, which Joe Pawlikowski of Fangraphs thinks may be a good thing for the A's.
- The Royals are converting prospect Wil Myers from catcher to outfielder, reports Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star.
Here are the contract details on three of the newest Mariners, courtesy of MLB.com's Greg Johns..
- Catcher Miguel Olivo's two year contract includes a team option for 2013. The veteran will make $2.75 this season, $3.5MM in 2012, and will receive a $750K buyout if his option is not picked up, bringing his guaranteed total to $7MM. If the M's pick up his option in '13, Olivo will earn a base of $3MM that could rise to as much as $3.75MM based on how much he plays in '11 and '12.
- Infielder Adam Kennedy will make $750K if he makes the big league roster. The 35-year-old's contract includes playing-time bonuses that start kicking in at $50K for 350 plate appearances. He could as much as $450K if he reaches 600 plate appearances.
- Catcher Josh Bard will also earn $750K if he makes the major league squad. Bard's bonuses begin at 300 plate appearances and could reach $250K for 500 plate appearances.
- Both Bard and Kennedy can exercise an out clause if they're not on the major league roster by the end of March.
- The players' association has found that Scott Boras did not violate union rules when his company made loans to a Dominican prospect, according to the Associated Press.
- Adam Everett's minor league deal with the Indians will pay the 33-year-old $700K plus incentives if he makes the team, or $15K per month at Triple-A, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Twitter link).
- The Rockies will reach out to pitcher Jeff Francis this week, tweets Troy Renck of The Denver Post. There's a chance that the left-hander returns to Colorado but he might have a better opportunity elsewhere.
- Brandon Webb, who officially joined the Rangers earlier today, says that he won't rush himself back in order to start the season in the rotation, writes ESPN.com's Richard Durrett.
- Greg Johns of MLB.com likes the Mariners' signing of Miguel Olivo.
Varvaro, 26, was projected to be a top pick out of St. John's University in 2005 before suffering an elbow injury. The right-hander would instead be nabbed by the M's in the 12th round of the draft as he required surgery before ever throwing a pitch as a pro. He threw just four innings for Seattle after making his major league debut in 2010.