Mike Cameron Rumors
During this morning's press conference to introduce Carl Crawford to the Boston media, GM Theo Epstein told reporters that he hasn't addressed a trade with Mike Cameron, writes MLB.com's Evan Drellich. The club's big winter splash knocks Cameron out of the starting outfield but doesn't neccessarily mean that he doesn't have a place on the bench.
"This role is something he can embrace and really make the most out of and have a tremendous impact on this club with all the left-handed hitting that we have," the GM said of the right-handed hitter.
Cameron would also provide a solid insurance policy to the Red Sox as Jacoby Ellsbury missed the majority of 2010 and J.D. Drew hasn't played more than 140 games since 2006. However, the soon-to-be 38-year-old is owed $7.25MM in 2011, making him an expensive reserve option.
On Thursday it was reported that the Red Sox have received inquiries on Cameron and are willing to listen, though they intend on keeping him.
Another eventful Winter Meetings has come to a close. Even with the pre-meetings action involving Adrian Gonzalez, Jayson Werth, and Shaun Marcum, we had plenty to talk about this week. Carl Crawford signed the biggest deal of the offseason so far. Paul Konerko stayed with the White Sox after some drama. Carlos Pena found a pillow contract with the Cubs. J.J. Putz assumed the Diamondbacks' closer role. The Orioles rebuilt the left side of their infield with Mark Reynolds and J.J. Hardy. The Pirates, Mariners, Padres, Royals, Rockies, Mets, and others made additions as well. On to today's links...
- Check out a couple of Rule 5 draft reviews from MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo and Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein. And of course, a pair of great links from John Manuel of Baseball America. We've got the picks from the Major League phase listed here.
- Newsday's Ken Davidoff has the financial breakdown on Derek Jeter's new contract.
- The Red Sox have already gotten inquiries on outfielder Mike Cameron, tweets ESPN's Jayson Stark. The team plans to keep him but is willing to listen. Cameron will have to take on a part-time role with Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, and J.D. Drew filling Boston's outfield.
- The Red Sox are expected to reach an agreement to re-sign Rich Hill in the next few days, reports Dan Barbarisi of The Providence Journal. Hill, who grew up a Sox fan, hopes to crack the bullpen this year.
- The Tigers' talks with Carl Crawford didn't get far, GM Dave Dombrowski told MLB.com's Jason Beck. Dombrowski explained that a team can only have so many $20MM players, and the Tigers already have two.
- Orioles president Andy MacPhail hasn't ruled out Cesar Izturis returning, tweets MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli. Izturis is a tougher fit after the Orioles acquired Hardy and Brendan Harris.
With Red Sox Nation in full panic mode, a number of writers are surveying the wreckage in a 4-9 start that represents, to provide some clarity, just eight percent of the season.
- WEEI.com's Alex Speier discusses whether the Sox would have been better off keeping Casey Kotchman than signing Adrian Beltre, noting that so far, Kotchman has notched a .963 OPS to Beltre's .668 OPS. However, Speier does hasten to add how early in the season it is. Before a recent 4-for-7 streak, Kotchman's OPS was just .717.
- Theo Epstein has no excuses for the start, saying, "It's just what it is. It's been bad baseball. We haven't played well. There are no excuses for how we've played."
- With the addition of Darnell McDonald for the injured Jacoby Ellsbury, however, moves will be trickier. McDonald puts the Red Sox 40-man roster at 40.
- And things may get worse before they get better: Mike Cameron, also on the DL with an abdominal strain, didn't rule out surgery to correct the problem.
- FoxSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi piles on, saying that the White Sox have "a better chance at a rapid turnaround" than the Red Sox do.
- In a minor league move, the Red Sox traded Andrew Dobies, a Double-A pitcher, to the White Sox for a player to be named later or cash.
Links for Friday...
- Hayden Penn cleared waivers and now has until Monday to decide whether to report to Triple A or become a free agent, according to MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch (via Twitter). The Pirates designated Penn for assignment Monday.
- Jose Veras, who was designated for assignment Wednesday, has been outrighted to Triple A by the Marlins, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post (Twitter link). This presumably means Veras cleared waivers.
- The Rockies called up Joe Beimel, according to the team. Beimel's deal pays him $850K in the major leagues.
- ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick heard that Bret Boone is trying to recruit Doug Mientkiewicz and Bobby Kielty for his Golden League team (Twitter link).
- ESPN.com's Keith Law offers updates on some of the top prospects eligible for this June's draft, including Bryce Brentz, an outfielder who Law considers "one of the top college bats in this draft."
- Fred Lewis and his representatives had been asking the Giants for a trade for nearly a year, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- FanGraphs' Jack Moore calls the Lewis deal a no-brainer for the Blue Jays and a head-scratcher for the Giants.
- Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun takes us on a must-read behind the scenes look at the Adeiny Hechavarria signing.
- Recent injuries to Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron will test Boston's depth, says WEEI.com's Alex Speier.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America brings us up to date on the latest round of minor league transactions. Among the notable players released: Brady Clark and Curtis Thigpen.
Some Sunday links to browse....
- The Royals agreed to terms with Brayan Pena and Chris Getz, according to a team press release. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed. With Pena and Getz sorted out, the team now has four unsigned players remaining: Billy Butler, Alberto Callaspo, Luke Hochevar, and Carlos Rosa.
- In his most recent blog post, ESPN.com's Buster Olney writes that Prince Fielder ought to consider a long-term extension with Milwaukee, since "it's still unclear whether any team would value him as much as the Brewers."
- Mike Cameron considered signing with the Mariners before he landed in Boston, according to Larry Stone of the Seattle Times.
- Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that the Phillies were Chan Ho Park's first choice heading into this winter, but that the two sides just couldn't work anything out.
- If Josh Beckett's last contract was any indication, he won't be concerned about "setting the market" when he signs his next deal, writes John Tomase of the Boston Herald.
- Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle defends the Astros' offseason bullpen signings, explaining how the team evaluated Brandon Lyon and Matt Lindstrom.
- Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch passes along comments from Tony La Russa about how the club's infield rotation will work with Felipe Lopez now a Cardinal.
- Blaine Boyer played a major part in recruiting Adam LaRoche and Kelly Johnson to Arizona, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe spoke to Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan who talked about free agent pickups Mike Cameron and Adrian Beltre. Let's take a look at his news and notes from around the majors:
- Free agent pitcher Jarrod Washburn could have a suitor in the Milwaukee Brewers. Back in November the lefty said that the Brewers were one of the teams "on his radar". Cafardo also writes that none of the free agent pitchers on the market should expect a commitment similar to Randy Wolf's three-year, $30MM deal.
- Meanwhile, Jon Garland could be a fit for the Giants, who are still looking to add a starter, although we heard otherwise on Friday this week. Recently we heard that the Dodgers contacted his agent, though they still appear to be hamstrung by their financial situation.
- Cafardo believes that Scott Boras played a role in MLB and the players' union coming down on the Marlins' thin payroll. Boras told him during the general managers' meetings in November that the Marlins were pocketing their revenue-sharing and central-fund sourcing money. Meanwhile, Cafardo wonders aloud how the Pirates have avoided similar scrutiny from the union and MLB.
On this date nine years ago, the A's, Royals, and Devil Rays pulled off a three-team trade that included seven big leaguers. Oakland acquired Johnny Damon, Mark Ellis, and the late Cory Lidle while Kansas City received Angel Berroa, A.J. Hinch, and Roberto Hernandez. Tampa Bay picked up just Ben Grieve. Even though Berroa went on to win the Rookie of the Year Award in 2003, Billy Beane's club walked away as the clear winner of this blockbuster.
Let's take a look at what's being written around the baseball blogosphere as Spring Training inches closer...
- Fenway Nation thinks the Red Sox made a mistake by not re-signing Jason Bay, and wants to see the club atone for it by trading for Adrian Gonzalez.
- Simon On Sports interviewed a blogger from each team about their squad's offseason.
- At Home Plate says the Cardinals overpaid for Matt Holliday not because he isn't worth the money, but because no one else was bidding for his services.
- Athletics Nation graded the front offices of the last decade.
- U.S.S. Mariner calls Franklin Gutierrez's contract extension a major bargain, and notes it's similarities to the deal Mike Cameron signed with Seattle a decade ago.
- DRays Bay wonders if the Rays could use Alfredo Amezaga.
- Phillies Nation takes a look at some of the cheaper free agent pitching options that could entice the two-time defending NL Champs.
- Twins Overlook examines the progression of Delmon Young since arriving in Minnesota.
- River Ave. Blues ranked the $100MM contracts given to position players.
- More Hardball has some New Year's resolutions for various people and teams in the game.
While its difficult to criticize negotations from the outside, two major free agents appear to have negotiated their way out of ideal situations this year.
In 2009, Johnny Damon closed out his four-year, $52MM contract in style, hitting .282/.365/.489 with 24 HRs. This offseason it was clear that Damon wanted to re-up with the Yankees, but of course, at the right price. Early in the offseason, reports suggested that Boras was seeking a three-year contract at roughly the same rate ($13MM/year) as his last deal.
After the Bombers signed Nick Johnson to take his place, word got out that Damon would have settled for $20MM over two years. While the Yanks' proposal of $14MM still wasn't quite close enough, it is possible that the two sides could have reached an accord. The Giants could be a suitor, as they were in on the Johnson chase, but it's doubtful that they would want to put him in the outfield.
Meanwhile, after rejecting a four-year, $60MM offer from Boston in July, Jason Bay appears to be having some trouble finding a new home.
The signing of Mike Cameron likely means that the Red Sox will be moving on, leaving the Mets as the top suitor. While some suggest that Omar Minaya & Co. will be willing to fork over the five-year pact that agent Joe Urbon has been asking for, it has been said that he does not want to play in Queens.
Regardless of what kind of contract each player fetches, it is difficult to imagine either player getting the money they wanted from their respective teams.
6:32pm: Joel Sherman of the New York Post is critical of how the Mets have handled negotiations with Bay. He said "the Mets are losing their dignity" by spending so much of their offseason time and energy in pursuit of a player "who clearly has major concerns" about coming to New York. Sherman suggests that the Mets should set a 24-hour deadline for Bay to accept their contract offer, and if he doesn't, the club should look at other left field options. Sherman thinks that a player like Jack Cust would be a wiser, lower-cost signing who could provide similar power numbers.
12:00pm: The Jason Bay to Boston rumors aren't exactly gaining momentum. An ESPNBoston.com article classifies the chances of a Bay return as a "long shot," while SI.com's Jon Heyman tweets that the Red Sox would probably only consider Bay for less ("maybe much less") than the Mets' best offer. Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston adds (via Twitter) that Mike Cameron's agent hasn't heard anything about the Sox pursuing another left fielder.
8:36am: In yesterday's round of Jason Bay rumblings, we heard that there could potentially be a renewed mutual interest between Bay and the Boston Red Sox. Today, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe hears that the pairing would not be inconceivable, but that there are a couple of roadblocks: The Red Sox would have to extend their budget, after committing $15.5MM to Mike Cameron, and a potential contract would probably need to be heavily backloaded.
ESPN.com's Buster Olney agrees with that assessment, since a source tells him that the Red Sox have less than $5MM left in spending money. He writes that signing Bay would mean the Sox either blowing up their budget or having to move a contract or two.
As for the Mets' four-year offer that's still on the table, Olney says that the Mets are feeling more and more like Bay doesn't want to play for them, and are making alternative plans. Newsday's Ken Davidoff thinks it wouldn't be the end of the world if the Mets refused to increase their offer to Bay and he ended up elsewhere.
10:48pm: The Red Sox might also be looking into extending an offer to free agent Matt Holliday, reports Mike Silverman of the Boston Herald. However, Silverman notes that signing Bay, let alone the more expensive Holliday, would be difficult.
7:31pm: The Mets have not heard from Bay's agent, Joe Urbon, in the last couple of days, a team official tells Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News. The same official says not to expect the club to ink Bay or Bengie Molina before Christmas.
In other Mets news, Carlos Delgado's delay in returning to baseball via the Puerto Rican winter league is apparently a result of issues related to the hip surgery he had last summer.
6:48pm: Boston has had internal discussions about extending their organizational budget to potentially allow for another offer to be made to Jason Bay, a team source tells Rob Bradford of WEEI. The discussed proposal would be in the vicinity of the four-year, $60MM deal originally pitched to the slugger.
It was widely thought that the signings of John Lackey and outfielder Mike Cameron spelled the end of Bay's tenure with the Red Sox as the club is now teetering on the edge of the $170MM luxury tax threshold.