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A few notes from around the Majors as we wrap up a very busy Thursday…
- The Rangers are "not looking at anything major" in terms of further offseason moves, general manager Jon Daniels tells MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. If the club does make any additions, it will be bench depth or another candidate to fight for the fifth starter's job.
- Left-hander Charlie Furbush wasn't part of the package the Mariners offered to the Diamondbacks for Justin Upton, Larry Stone of the Seattle Times reports. The two teams had agreed on a package that included Taijuan Walker, Nick Franklin and Stephen Pryor before Upton blocked the deal with his no-trade protection. Stone isn't sure if just those three were offered to Arizona or if another pitcher besides Furbush was also part of the proposed trade.
- Mike Aviles hasn't heard updates from his agent about his contract status with the Indians but tells MLB.com's Jordan Bastian that "as far as I know, everything is progressing and I don't see why it wouldn't be settled" before the two sides reach an arbitration hearing. Aviles is the Tribe's only remaining arb-eligible player who hasn't yet agreed to a deal. MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker indicates that Aviles is looking for a $3.4MM contract while Cleveland is offering $2.4MM.
- Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse are still unsigned, which many attribute to the draft pick compensation tied to them as players who turned down qualifying offers from their former teams. Andrew Miller, the Red Sox MLBPA representative, told Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal that the two players' situations "clearly means more fine-tuning" is needed for the new free agency rules. "It's not an open market for these guys….It's just unfortunate that those guys can help teams but teams are hesitant to go after them because of a draft pick," Miller said.
- Center field has been the busiest position of the offseason, as MLB.com's Andrew Simon notes the large number of teams who have made changes in center this winter.
- The Royals don't have an out clause in their TV contract with FOX Sports Kansas City, Royals senior VP of business Kevin Uhlich tells Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star. The club's current broadcast deal runs through the 2019 season.
The Indians have been very busy during the first days of 2013 officially announcing the free agent signings of Nick Swisher and Brett Myers. MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports the team will open the season with a payroll hovering around $66-68MM (not including the $2.75MM buyout of Travis Hafner's 2013 club option and the $3.5MM sent to the Reds in the Shin-Soo Choo trade). As a result, GM Chris Antonetti has said the team's financial resources have been exhausted. The lone remaining hole in the lineup is designated hitter. Bastian says the Tribe could rely on internal options like Mike Aviles, Yan Gomes, Ezequiel Carrera, Tim Fedroff, and Rule 5 selection Chris McGuiness. Even bringing back Hafner is a possibility according to Antonetti, "I think some of that is going to depend upon other opportunities for Travis and his thoughts on returning, as well as what opportunities we may have for him compared to other guys." Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer has more news and notes concerning the Indians:
- Hoynes adds Matt LaPorta to the list of in-house DH options, but says Antonetti could still sign a hitter or bring one in on a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
- Hoynes thinks Delmon Young would look good as the Tribe's DH, but doesn't see it happening at this time because of his asking price and character issues.
- The Indians will still consider trading Asdrubal Cabrera or Chris Perez, but only if the return is comparable to what they received in the Choo deal.
- The starting rotation looks like Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Myers, and Zach McAllister. Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco are the leading candidates for the fifth spot.
- With the flush of spending of this season, does this put extra pressure on the front office to win now? Hoynes doesn't sense any panic in the hallways of power, especially since new manager Terry Francona can opt-out of his deal if certain members of management lose their jobs.
Jason Giambi was a surprise candidate to become the Rockies' next manager, but now that the job has gone to Walt Weiss, the team has offered Giambi the job of hitting coach, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Giambi had said he would continue playing if he wasn't hired as manager, though he's taking a few days to consider Colorado's offer. If he turns it down and wants to keep playing, agent Joel Wolfe tells ESPN's Jerry Crasnick that "several teams" have shown interest in his client, who will be 42 years old on Opening Day.
Here are some more items from a very busy day around baseball…
- Robinson Cano believes he has already signed one team-friendly contract with the Yankees and will look for market value in his next deal, a "confidant" of the second baseman tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Cano's last contract with the Yankees ended up paying him $57MM over six years once New York exercised its two club options for 2012 and 2013.
- The Blue Jays' waiver claim of Bobby Wilson as catching depth "suggests J.P. Arencibia is in play on the trade market," writes Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi.
- Also from Davidi, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said that Mike Aviles drew "pretty good demand…the Indians weren't the only team that asked about him," before the infielder was traded to Cleveland last weekend.
- Though Phillies GM Ruben Amaro said earlier today that he preferred signing players to making trades this offseason, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News thinks the trade market might be the best way for the Phils to solve some roster problems.
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto likes his core of position players, leaving Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times to conclude that the Halos will pursue rotation depth through free agency, not trades.
- Jose Veras has switched agents, going from Bryce Dixon to the Praver Shapiro agency, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The veteran righty chose to become a free agent after he was outrighted off the Brewers' 40-man roster.
- Minor league free agent Collin Balester is "in demand," reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter). Balester, 26, had a 6.50 ERA in 11 relief outings for the Tigers last season but posted strong numbers at Triple-A Toledo.
The Blue Jays have acquired Esmil Rogers from the Indians for Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes, both teams announced. The move fills a hole for each club, as Toronto gets pitching depth while Cleveland gets infield depth.
Rogers, 27, pitched to a 3.06 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 53 innings for the Tribe this year. He was acquired from the Rockies for cash in mid-June after being designated for assignment. Rogers throws very hard — averaged 95.7 mph with the fastball in 2012 — and remains under team control through 2016. He fell just short of the Super Two cutoff this offseason.
Toronto had just acquired Aviles from the Red Sox as compensation for manager John Farrell late last month. The 31-year-old infielder hit .250/.282/.381 with 13 homers for Boston last year and is capable of playing the three non-first base infield spots. Aviles is projected to make $2.3MM through arbitration this winter and will remain under team control in 2014 as well. He played for new Indians manager Terry Francona briefly with the Red Sox in 2011.
Gomes, 25, hit .204/.264/.367 with four homers in 111 plate appearances for the Jays this season, his first taste of the big leagues. He hit .328/.380/.557 with 13 homers in 335 plate appearances at hitter-friendly Triple-A Las Vegas this summer, and has experience at both infield corners and well as behind the plate. Gomes is the first Brazilian-born player in MLB history and remains under team control through 2018.
- Anthopoulos wants to interview candidates he didn't interview when he hired Farrell in 2010 because he was denied permission to do so or they were unavailable at the time. Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (via Twitter) believes Tim Wallach and Manny Acta, respectively, fit that description. Davidi adds the search could begin with the three finalists Farrell beat out: Sandy Alomar, Jr., DeMarlo Hale, and Brian Butterfield, although a promotion for the Blue Jays' third base coach appears unlikely.
- Anthopoulos will address the coaching staff once a new manager is hired, tweets MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm.
- Anthopoulos was prepared to enter 2013 with Farrell as manager. "We could have and we talked about it, and he was prepared to do so, as well, " said Anthopoulos (quotes courtesy of the Boston Herald's Scott Lauber). "The big thing here was the fact that once John had indicated this was something he wanted to pursue, it was his dream job, it just didn’t make a whole lot of sense to not at least see if we could work something out."
- Anthopoulos said Red Sox owner John Henry made the first approach and compensation talks, which remained on an ownership-level, focused only on Major League players, tweets Davidi.
- Anthopoulos expressed his displeasure that there was "gamesmanship from a negotiating standpoint, not on our end," writes Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. Anthopoulos, however, added neither he nor ownership have any issues with their Boston counterparts.
- In the same piece, Anthopoulos called Farrell's leaving "a perfect storm of events" tracing back to the Red Sox's 2011 collapse and the departure of Terry Francona. "If that [September collapse] hadn't occurred, I don't think this story ever would have started, I don't think there would have been the interest, and I don't think we'd be talking today."
- Anthopoulos sees new acquisition Mike Aviles "at a mininum" as a utility infielder, but he could also earn playing time at second base, tweets Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe.
- David Carpenter was not going to make the Blue Jays' 40-man roster, according to Anthopoulos (via ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes on Twitter). Carpenter could find himself in similar situation in Boston, tweets Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
The Red Sox have announced the hiring of John Farrell as their new manager and his agreement to a three-year deal that will run through 2015. As compensation to the Blue Jays, to whom Farrell was under contract through 2013, the Red Sox traded shortstop Mike Aviles for right-hander David Carpenter.
The Red Sox confirmed in their press release they sought and received permission from the Blue Jays to talk directly to Farrell and made the agreement late last night. Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told reporters, including Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (via Twitter), that Farrell approached him one week after the season to tell him, if the opportunity to manage in Boston came up, he wanted to pursue it calling it a dream job.
"I’m extremely excited to be returning to the Red Sox and to Boston," said Farrell in the Red Sox's statement. "I love this organization. It’s a great franchise in a special city and region, with great fans, and we want nothing more than to reward their faith in us."
"We are thrilled to name John Farrell as our new manager," said Executive Vice-President/General Manager Ben Cherington, who made the announcement. "John has been a major league pitcher, front office executive, coach, and manager. His broad set of experiences, and exceptional leadership skills, make him the ideal person to lead our team. I have known him in various capacities throughout my career, and I hold him in the highest regard as a baseball man and as a person."
Aviles saw his role reduced towards the end of the season in Boston as the club slotted Jose Iglesias in as the starting shortstop for the bulk of September. The 31-year-old took a step back offensively in 2012 as he hit just .250/.282/.381 with 13 homers. In parts of five big league seasons for the Royals and Red Sox, Aviles owns a .277/.308/.408 batting line. Aviles, who earned $1.2MM last season, will head to arbitration once again this winter and is set to hit the open market after the 2014 season.
This marks the second time that Carpenter has been traded this year, as he went from the Astros to Toronto in a ten-player deal this summer. The 27-year-old appeared in 33 games for the two clubs last season, posting a 8.07 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9. He also had a 3.08 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 23 Triple-A appearances.
Boston had been linked to Farrell, their former pitching coach, ever since Bobby Valentine appeared to be losing his grip on the club this year. Meanwhile, Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos repeatedly deflected questions about the possibility of Farrell returning to the Red Sox and even instituted a club policy of blocking personnel from leaving for a lateral move.
Two compensation deals for baseball decision makers were completed last season. Theo Epstein went from the Red Sox over to the Cubs' front office while manager Ozzie Guillen was traded from the White Sox to the Marlins. The White Sox received Double-A reliever Jhan Marinez and Triple-A shortstop Ozzie Martinez for their skipper. While both were ranked highly within the Marlins' farm system, neither player is viewed as an elite prospect. Meanwhile, the Cubs and Red Sox had a long protracted battle over what Epstein's compensation package should be before finally agreeing upon pitching prospects Chris Carpenter and Aaron Kurcz going to Boston for Jair Bogaerts.
Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com (via Twitter) was the first to break the news of Farrell's hiring. Rob Bradford of WEEI.com first reported the inclusion of Aviles and, along with colleague Alex Speier, Carpenter.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
Here's a look at the latest out of the AL and NL East..
- Red Sox shortstop Mike Aviles isn't thrilled about his reduced role but still hopes to remain in Boston next season, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Despite that, Aviles insists that he won't dwell too much on his baseball future as a great deal of his focus will remain on his family at home.
- Blue Jays shortstop Omar Vizquel made it known earlier this summer that 2012 will be his final major league season and the 45-year-old hasn't had a change of heart. The veteran reiterated today that he plans on retiring as a player effective Wednesday, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- In a session today with Spanish-language reporters, Marlins skipper Ozzie Guillen opined that it would be unfair if he is dismissed after just one season at the helm in Miami, writes Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post. Earlier this week, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com wrote that Guillen's job appears to be in "serious peril".
- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine told ESPN 98.7's Michael Kay that he wished he had listened to a particular piece of advice from former pitcher Al Leiter over the winter, writes Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com. Leiter later told Kay that his advice was to work to get pitcher Josh Beckett on his side as he can be difficult at times. Beckett, of course, would later be a part of the club's massive payroll purge in their deal with the Dodgers.
The Games of the XXX Olympiad came to a close today in London. Nearly 11,000 athletes from 204 nations took part in over 300 events in 26 sports. But, none of the Olympic pagentry involved baseball. So, let's celebrate America's National Pastime with the latest news, notes and quotes:
- Not everyone in the Mets front office is sold that they can be a sustained contender moving forward with Ike Davis at first base, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. One internal option would be moving Lucas Duda in from the outfield and some believe that he would be more comfortable at first.
- Mets owner Fred Wilpon wouldn't speak with reporters following a rare on-field appearance before last night's game against the Braves, but he'll have to start answering questions soon, writes David Lennon of Newsday. There are a lot of unknowns surrounding the Mets, including what their projected payroll will be for 2013 and if the franchise is on the rebound financially.
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington says Gerrit Cole, last year's top draft pick, will not be a September callup, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Sulia). "We've not talked about it internally. My gut (feeling) is no." Huntington said. "To drop him into bullpen up here in September is not something we have lot of interest in doing. We have a lot of other options, instead of rushing a young prospect." Cole is currently starting at Double-A Altoona.
- The A's had interest in Mike Aviles prior to the trade deadline, but a deal is unlikely now the Red Sox have placed the shortstop on waivers, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Slusser says the chances are slim the A's will acquire a shortstop before the August 31st deadline for playoff-roster eligibility.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
Teams routinely place players on waivers, even if they don't plan on trading them, so this is not an indication that the Red Sox intend to move Shoppach or Aviles. If the players go unclaimed, the Red Sox will be able to complete a trade just as easily as they could have before the current waiver period began ten days ago.
If a team claims Shoppach or Aviles, the Red Sox will have three choices. They can let the player (and his contract) go to the claiming team, they can complete a trade with the claiming team, or they can pull the player back off of waivers. American League teams will have claiming priority on Shoppach and Aviles.
This is a running list of players who have cleared waivers, based on published reports. Once a player clears waivers, he can be traded to any team (barring a no-trade clause). This list can always be found in the sidebar under MLBTR Features. Player names are linked to the source articles.
Nick Punto, Red Sox - Punto earns $1.5MM this year and will earn the same amount in 2013.
Carl Crawford, Red Sox - Crawford has $102.5MM remaining on his contract after 2012, so he was expected to clear waivers. Crawford can block trades to two clubs, but no team can flip him to the Yankees after acquiring him from Boston.
Alfonso Soriano, Cubs – Soriano can block any trade. He earns $18MM per season through 2014.
Juan Pierre, Phillies – Pierre earns $800K in 2012 and he'll hit free agency after the season.
Joe Mauer, Twins – Mauer earns $23MM per season through 2018.
Joe Saunders, Diamondbacks – Saunders earns $6MM in 2012 and will hit free agency after the season.
Roy Oswalt, Rangers – Oswalt earns $5MM in 2012 and will hit free agency after the season.
Kevin Millwood, Mariners – Millwood earns $1MM in 2012 and will hit free agency after the season.
Carlos Marmol, Cubs - Marmol will earn $9.8MM in 2013 before hitting free agency.