Mike Piazza Rumors

Odds and Ends: Baldelli, Salcedo, Piazza, Rivera

Time for today’s linkage.

Piazza Considering Two Teams

Mark Hale of the New York Post recently spoke to Mike Piazza‘s agent, Dan Lozano.  Piazza may retire if he doesn’t find the right opportunity, but he is currently mulling two interested teams.  Lozano indicated that there is one team from each league under consideration.  Japan is not a possibility for Piazza.

Piazza, 39, hit .275/.313/.414 in 329 plate appearances last year as Oakland’s DH.  He was limited by a shoulder strain and bruised triceps.  Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA system has him at .255/.310/.426 in 294 PAs this year, a performance worth $675K.  If Piazza gets a Major League deal, the A’s will get a decent draft pick.   

Tampa Bay would be a reasonable guess for the AL club.  Could the Marlins make sense in the NL?  If I recall correctly Piazza didn’t fare too well in his stint at first base with the Mets, so I’m not sure if that’s an option.

Rays Considering Bonds, Piazza, Lofton

12:28pm: Andrew Friedman denies it, calling the Bonds rumor a "non-story."  They never even had a harmless internal conversation about Bonds, then?

11:27am: Japan is a legitimate possibility for Barry Bonds, but he may not have exhausted his MLB options just yet.  Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times says the Rays have had internal discussions about signing Bonds (hat tip DRays Bay).  At some point, one of the 30 teams is going to acknowledge that Bonds adds wins.  Most fans have proven that they care more about wins than steroid use.

Other considerations for the Rays include Mike Piazza and Kenny Lofton.  In the case of all three players, the Rays would have a logjam on their hands.   But the chance to do some bargain shopping could prove irresistible.

Piazza Struggling To Find Work

Mike Piazza, now 39, isn’t have much luck finding a job this winter.  First there were the rumors about Japan.  Now we learn that he’s expressed interest in closing out his career with the Marlins, and they’ll pass.  Piazza played five games for the Fish in ’98 before being flipped to the Mets for Ed Yarnall, Preston Wilson, and Geoff Goetz.

Piazza doesn’t make much sense as a backup catcher for NL teams, since he’s not much behind the dish these days.  Oakland brought him aboard last year to DH for $8.5MM, which seemed like a decent move.  He wasn’t healthy and didn’t hit as expected.  Another DH job would be ideal.  14 such gigs exist, but David Ortiz, Frank Thomas, Jim Thome, Travis Hafner, Gary Sheffield, and Jose Vidro are all locked in.  To be generous Piazza might have eight AL teams to call up.  Realistically it’s even fewer since some of those eight will use their DH as a rotation spot and don’t have room for Piazza.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Roberts, Barrett, Piazza

Ken Rosenthal is presumably in Nashville doing what he does best – collect trade rumors by the dozen.  His latest column is an excellent example.  What’s the over/under on Rosenthal scoops over the next four days?  I’ll set it at 10.

  • Rosenthal says the Mets are unwilling to extend the contract of GM Omar Minaya, who is signed through 2009.  The lack of job security could compel Minaya to mortgage the future, and the Lastings Milledge trade was a good example.  Carlos Gomez, watch out.  Here’s MLBTR’s look at Omar Minaya’s Mets trade profile.
  • The Astros, Giants, and Cardinals aren’t really in the running for Miguel Cabrera, so they don’t need to wait for that shoe to drop to go after Miguel Tejada.  However it sounds like all three clubs don’t have the talent even for a Tejada trade.  Jon Heyman mentioned today that the Orioles do have interest in Adam Everett and Michael Bourn of the Astros.
  • Here’s a good one: Peter Angelos favorite Brian Roberts might be available.  The Mets and Astros inquired but moved on, but Roberts might be just what the Cubs are looking for.  The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec recently told us that he doesn’t expect Andy MacPhail to move Roberts unless he’s "totally overwhelmed."
  • The Marlins, Rays, and Orioles have interest in Michael Barrett.  In the case of Baltimore, the interest indicates the availability of Ramon Hernandez.  If Barrett can find a multiyear deal from one of those teams, he may decline the Padres’ offer of arbitration.  It’s a catch-22, though, because that would make Barrett much less signable in terms of draft pick compensation. 
  • If Barrett does decline, the Padres might bring Mike Piazza back.
  • The Nationals keep asking for Rickie Weeks for Chad Cordero, and the Brewers keep saying no.
  • The Braves are big fans of Coco Crisp, and could have a passing interest in Corey Patterson.  But they certainly wouldn’t mind going with internal options in center next year.
  • Aaron Rowand is definitely getting that five-year deal – a Mystery Team has already offered one.  The Yanks could pursue him if they trade the Melk Man. 
  • Deja vu – the Yanks and Mets both like Octavio Dotel, again.  It’s known that Octavio loves New York.

Odds and Ends: Jenkins, Piazza, Kuroda

Random rumors for this evening…

  • ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Rays have contacted Geoff Jenkins‘ agent.  They’re eyeing him to replace Delmon Young in right field.
  • Cubs lefty Scott Eyre exercised his $3.8MM player option for 2008.
  • Terrmel Sledge never quite caught on in the U.S., so he’s headed to Japan.  I thought he was a sleeper entering 2007 as he’d posted a .985 OPS in Triple A in ’06.
  • The Yorvit Torrealba deal is official at two years and $7.25MM with a $4MM mutual option for 2010.  Mutual options never get exercised by both sides so that doesn’t mean much.  Michael Barrett and Paul Lo Duca are the two remaining free agent starting catchers.
  • It’s true, Mike Piazza does have some interest from a Japanese team.  But he also has three MLB teams interested, and he’s much more likely to stay in the U.S.
  • Could Yasuhiko Yabuta lead the Royals to sign Hiroki Kuroda?  It’s a possibility.  The D’Backs are after him as well; Nick Piecoro has some in-depth info about Kuroda.

Heyman’s Latest: Piazza, Matthews, Milledge

SI.com’s Jon Heyman checks in with a new Daily Scoop column full of rumors.

  • A lot of the standard trade talk we’ve seen regarding Miguel Cabrera, Johan Santana, Miguel Tejada, and Dan Haren.  All these guys require two good young players or more in a trade.
  • Mike Piazza is considering DHing in Japan if he doesn’t find anything he likes in the U.S. 
  • Heyman talked to an AL exec who speculated that the Angels may try to unload Gary Matthews Jr.  GMJ makes $9MM in ’08, $10MM in ’09, $11MM in ’10, and $12MM in ’11.  He currently has a full no-trade clause.
  • Juan Uribe and Vicente Padilla are two salary-dump types whose names have surfaced in recent trade talks (unrelated to each other).  Padilla is owed $24.75MM over the next two seasons.
  • Heyman believes the Mets are very willing to trade Lastings Milledge and have discussed him often.
  • We knew the Mets had discussed Ramon Hernandez and Gerald Laird.  Heyman adds the Nats’ Brian Schneider to the mix.  He makes $4.9MM in ’08 and another $4.9MM in ’09.

Odds and Ends: Cabrera, Schilling, Stewart

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.

What’s In Store For Oakland?

Susan Slusser’s recent article for the San Francisco Chronicle had some interesting rumor tidbits.

  • The Dodgers see the Esteban Loaiza handover as something of a small gift from the A’s.  The team’s talked about sending someone to Oakland – Brett Tomko was mentioned – but ultimately Oakland moved Loaiza only for salary relief.  However, the goodwill between Ned Colletti and Billy Beane from the deal could result in positive offseason discussions about Joe Blanton.  The Dodgers could sweeten a Blanton package beyond what’s necessary, in rememberance of the Loaiza gift.
  • The Tigers haven’t asked about Mike Piazza, and the Twins had only mild interest back in July.  But that might be one last salary the A’s try to unload before tonight’s trade deadline.
  • Interesting thought from Buster Olney the other day – is it time to shop Eric Chavez?  His plus defense might play well in L.A., New York, or Boston.  Olney speculates that the A’s might ask the Dodgers for Clayton Kershaw…can’t see that one happening.  Chavvy makes $11MM in ’08, $11MM in ’09, $12MM in ’10, and a $3MM buyout in ’11.  His limited no-trade clause allows him to block trades to the Blue Jays, Nationals, Devil Rays, Mets, Twins, Brewers, Marlins, and Indians.
  • Slusser writes in another article that the A’s will slice their ’08 payroll by roughly $15MM.

Rosenthal’s Latest Videos: Hunter, Piazza

A couple of Ken Rosenthal new videos – Inside Pitch and Full Count – are up at FOXSports.com.  Here’s a summary of the rumor-related stuff.

  • Rosenthal says Torii Hunter rejected a four-year, $56MM offer from the Twins.  However, Hunter said today that he received no such offer.  The Twins approached him about a contract extension, but he’ll wait until the winter to negotiate.  At any rate, Rosenthal believes Hunter will end up in the $18MM per year territory occupied by comparables Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells.
  • Mike Piazza could be an option for the Tigers if Gary Sheffield’s shoulder problems linger.  Currently Sheff is looking to return in early September.  Piazza has cleared waivers, so he can be traded to any team.  He hasn’t been hitting this month (.654 OPS).
  • The Orioles have a couple of valuable trading chips in Kevin Millar and Steve Trachsel.  Trax has cleared waivers; Millar is an unknown.  Trachsel is back on the radar with a 2.53 August ERA (though he’s whiffed only five in 32 innings).
  • Rosenthal says the Marlins will almost certainly explore Dontrelle Willis trades this winter.