Mike Gonzalez Rumors
33-year-old southpaw Mike Gonzalez may be the best available reliever, and he's got the Boras Corporation on his side. However, with pitchers and catchers due to report in a week, financial resources and roster spots are limited for most teams. Here are some potential fits for Gonzalez, who posted a 4.39 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 1.18 HR/9, and 40.9% groundball rate for the Orioles and Rangers in 2011.
- Earlier this month, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted that the Rangers are still in on Gonzalez, for whom they could find money by trading Koji Uehara. As of January, Michael Kirkman and Martin Perez were the Rangers' top candidates to fill a lefty relief role, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Since then, the team added Joe Beimel and Mitch Stetter on minor league deals.
- The Yankees are going with Boone Logan as their primary lefty, with Rule 5 pick Cesar Cabral also needing a 25-man roster spot if he is to be retained. Hideki Okajima and Michael O'Connor will be in camp on minor league deals.
- Assuming Travis Wood makes the Cubs' rotation, they'll have Jeff Beliveau, John Gaub, Scott Maine, James Russell, and Trever Miller looking to fill the lefty reliever void created by the Sean Marshall trade. The Cubs had to sacrifice Blake DeWitt to find a 40-man roster spot for Adrian Cardenas, however, and someone else would have to go if Gonzalez were to sign a Major League deal.
- The Astros have lefty relievers, but they could represent Gonzalez's best chance to return to closing if he'll accept a meager salary. The team's pen is unsettled after the Mark Melancon trade.
- The Brewers will have Zach Braddock and Manny Parra vying for a lefty reliever job, with non-roster invitees Juan Perez and Daniel Meadows also in the discussion. The team might not have a few million in the budget for Gonzalez, but they've got a $375K swing assuming they go to an arbitration hearing with reliever Jose Veras.
- The Dodgers have Scott Elbert as their main lefty reliever, with names such as Michael Antonini, John Grabow, Wil Ledezma, and Alberto Castillo trying to grab another spot. Finding a roster opening could be the biggest stumbling block.
- Lefties Josh Spence and Joe Thatcher are penciled into the Padres' bullpen, but Gonzalez would make a nice addition for the Padres behind Huston Street.
Here's the latest from the AL West...
- The Rangers may be trying to trade Koji Uehara to clear payroll space for not necessarily Roy Oswalt, but rather a left-handed reliever like Mike Gonzalez, tweets FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. We heard last month that Texas was interested in Gonzalez. Both Uehara and Gonzalez were acquired by Texas in separate trades with the Orioles last summer, but while Gonzalez pitched for the Rangers throughout their playoff run, Uehara struggled in the ALDS and ALCS and was left off the World Series roster. Uehara, who has a limited no-trade clause, already rejected one deal that would've sent him to the Blue Jays.
- MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez looks at various scenarios facing the Angels surrounding Mark Trumbo's ability to play third base and Kendrys Morales' health.
- The Mariners have two players on their 40-man roster who are out of options: Mike Carp and Cesar Jimenez. As MLB.com's Greg Johns explains, Luis Rodriguez is also out of options but, as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training, he isn't on Seattle's 40-man roster.
- Also from Johns' mailbag piece, he doesn't think the Mariners need to sign a veteran DH like Johnny Damon or Vladimir Guerrero, arguing that the playing time is better served for young players like Carp, Jesus Montero and Casper Wells.
- The Mariners inquired about Yankees prospect Mason Williams during the Michael Pineda trade talks, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). Williams, a 20-year-old center fielder, enjoyed a breakout campaign at low Class-A Staten Island last season, hitting .349/.395/.468 in just his second year of pro ball. Heyman is "hearing raves" about Williams' potential.
Yesterday, we heard that the Orioles and Cubs talked about a deal involving Alfonso Soriano. In order to ship the outfielder elsewhere, the Cubs would have to eat a substantial portion of the $54MM remaining on his contract. Here's more on Soriano and the Orioles..
- Talks between the Orioles and Cubs were probably not very serious, sources told Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com. Dan Duquette doesn't want to spend heavily on a designated hitter and even if the Cubs ate about 80% of the $54MM owed to Soriano, the O's would still be on the hook for $3-4MM for each of the next three seasons.
- Dubroff adds that if Duquette shells out a big contract this winter, it'll be for a pitcher, not for a one-dimensional DH. Former O's reliever Mike Gonzalez is still on the open market, but it's not likely that he'll get the chance to redeem himself in Baltimore.
- The Orioles and Blue Jays have both evaluated Manny Ramirez, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com (Spanish link). According to a source, both clubs sent scouts to watch Ramirez hit in an indoor cage in Miami.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (via Twitter) writes that executive director of international recruiting Fred Ferreira and manager Buck Showalter watched Ramirez take batting practice shortly after the Winter Meetings.
- The Orioles didn't trade for Jai Miller because of concerns over Nick Markakis' health, writes Kubatko. Miller is seen as an upgrade over former first-round pick Brandon Snyder, and a better overall player than Matt Angle. The O's acquired Miller for $45K from the Athletics on Tuesday.
- The Orioles signed Korean right-hander Eun Chul Choi to a minor league deal, according to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. Not much is known about the 6-foot-5 hurler, but based on comments from Duquette, it seems that his signing marks the beginning of a serious push into Korea by the organization.
The Rangers are still looking for bullpen help, specifically left-handed, and the club remains interested in Mike Gonzalez according to Rich Durrett of ESPN Dallas. Texas met with the lefty's agent, Scott Boras, at the winter meetings.
Gonzalez, 33, appeared in seven games with the Rangers last year after being acquired from the Orioles at the end of August. He's pitched to a 4.27 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 78 innings over the last two seasons, his only two in the American League. Gonzalez has held left-handed batters to a .213/.281/.335 batting line during his nine-year career. Texas lost Darren Oliver to the Blue Jays, but a full season of Gonzalez will help mitigate the loss.
The Rangers are more focused on trading for a starter than signing Prince Fielder or bidding on Yu Darvish, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Here are the details on the Rangers...
- The Rangers appear to have less payroll flexibility than expected and are interested in trading for arms such as Matt Garza, Wade Davis and Gio Gonzalez. Texas did not make official offers to C.J. Wilson or Mark Buehrle before the southpaws signed elsewhere, Rosenthal and Morosi report.
- It's worth noting that Texas has a full projected rotation: Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Scott Feldman, Alexi Ogando and Colby Lewis.
- The Rangers remain "in" on Mike Gonzalez, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). The Yankees and Cardinals also have some interest in the free agent left-hander.
Derrick Goold and Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch have a round-up of what the Cardinals could be planning now that Albert Pujols has left town...
- The Cardinals "have explored what the market is" for Carlos Beltran. Beltran would see most of his playing time in center field, since Allen Craig is slated to be the everyday right fielder.
- Jimmy Rollins' desire for a five-year contract will probably keep the Cards out of the bidding unless Rollins is willing to accept a shorter-term deal. The team is still talking to Rafael Furcal and would like to bring back Nick Punto as a veteran backup, should the Cardinals decide to look within and give Tyler Greene a shot at the everyday shortstop job.
- The team is looking for a left-handed reliever and have spoken to representatives for Mike Gonzalez and J.C. Romero.
- The planned $110MM payroll for 2012 won't be lowered because Pujols is gone, said GM John Mozeliak.
- In regards to the Jake Westbrook/Kyle Lohse trade rumors, Mozeliak said no deals materialized and one of the starters would be dealt only if the Cards need to "reallocate" some money towards another move.
Some links for the bleary-eyed readers still awake at their computers/smartphones/tablets:
- The Yankees are discussing a minor league deal with outfielder Dewayne Wise, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). A strong defender, Wise is probably best known for preserving former teammate Mark Buehrle's 2009 perfect game in the ninth inning by robbing a home run off the bat of Gabe Kapler.
- Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets that the Rangers met with Scott Boras to discuss Mike Gonzalez today, and they also checked in on Prince Fielder.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin said his team probably won't make a pick in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
- The Pirates have at least thought about picking Nationals lefty Josh Smoker in the Rule 5 Draft, though it's not a lock according to John Perotto of Baseball Prospectus (on Twitter). Smoker was selected 31st overall by the Nats in 2007.
- Even with tonight's hiring of Jeff Luhnow as the new Astros GM, it will be interim GM Dave Gottfried and scouting director/assistant GM Bobby Heck calling the shots at the Rule 5 Draft tomorrow, tweets Alyson Footer of the Astros.
- Baseball America's John Manuel writes that reports of the Twins focusing on pitching led to speculation on Mets righty Rhiner Cruz, but a club source said the team is looking in another direction.
- The Red Sox compensation from the Cubs for Theo Epstein is expected to be sorted out after the Rule 5 Draft, writes MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.
The Marlins agreed to sign Heath Bell last night and they may make more major free agent signings later this month. Here’s the latest from Jon Heyman of SI.com, starting with a note on the Marlins (Twitter links):
- The Braves want a young outfielder and shortstop plus other players for Jair Jurrjens.
- The Yankees have looked at free agent left-hander Mike Gonzalez.
- The Nationals will push for C.J. Wilson, according to Heyman. They want a left-handed starter and Wilson appears to be their top target.
- The Marlins are optimistic about signing Jose Reyes and they are considering upping their initial bid (it was in the $75-90MM range). The Mets and Marlins appear to be Reyes' two main suitors, but interested teams view the Tigers as a threat to sign the shortstop. “They are good poker players,” one exec said.
- The Astros are shopping Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers and Carlos Lee. I’d guess it’s unlikely they make a move before they hire a new GM.
- The Astros "will do whatever it takes'' to hire Rays executive Andrew Friedman, according to Heyman. Friedman is unsure if he wants to leave the Rays, however.
- The Padres and Brewers are showing interest in former Mets and Expos GM Omar Minaya and he may make a decision soon.
- Jorge Posada would like to play if he can find the right job and Heyman suggests the Marlins are a possible fit for the switch-hitter.
The Rangers are looking to bolster their pitching this offseason, assistant GM Thad Levine said today in Milwaukee. Here are more details from MLBTR’s conversation with Levine, who represented the Rangers in place of GM Jon Daniels:
- Though the Rangers aren’t married to the idea of acquiring left-handed relievers, they’d like to add bullpen depth in some form. Southpaws Darren Oliver and Mike Gonzalez are on the free agent market and the Rangers would welcome either one back under the right circumstances.
- Ideally, they’ll add relievers who can retire hitters on both sides of the plate, rather than highly specialized players.
- The Rangers developed Neftali Feliz as a starting pitcher and they’re “very open" to moving him to the rotation, Levine said. The Rangers are confident in their ability to shift certain relievers to the rotation after converting C.J. Wilson in 2010 and Alexi Ogando in 2011.
- “In the event that the starting pitching market doesn’t play out like we hope, [converting Feliz to the rotation] is certainly an alternative and if we go that route, we’d probably want to try to address the bullpen,” Levine said. The Rangers intend to convert Feliz to the rotation, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
- Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols lurk as alternatives for large-market teams without fully established first basemen, but the Rangers aren’t at all concerned with Mitch Moreland, according to Levine. “We consider the setback much more injury-related than performance-related,” Levine said, noting that Moreland played through wrist tendinitis in 2011.
The Rangers fell short of their ultimate goal but still had an extremely successful season in 2011. They'll look to improve this winter, then try to become the first AL team to win three straight pennants since the Yankees from 1998-2001. Here's the latest from Texas...
- C.J. Wilson spoke to Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas about his upcoming free agency following last night's loss. He feels the Rangers have treated him with a lot of respect, but the free agency process is foreign to him and he doesn't know what will be out there for him.
- "I'm definitely interested in coming back," said soon-to-be free agent Mike Gonzalez to Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas. "Whatever we can do, I'm willing to do what I need to do." Gonzalez will have his knee scoped next week, but will be ready in time for Spring Training.
- “We’ve got to find ways to get better," said Rangers GM Jon Daniels to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports after last night's game. Rosenthal says Daniels is likely to let "some other club overpay" for Wilson.