Mike Jacobs Rumors
Links for Monday...
- Even after signing LaTroy Hawkins, the Astros would like to re-sign Doug Brocail. They already chose a $250K buyout over his $3.25MM option. Further complicating matters, Brocail is a Type A free agent.
- The Royals signed pitcher Brandon Duckworth and then outrighted him to Triple A.
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan ranks all the free agents, from C.C. Sabathia at #1 to Vance Wilson at #183.
- The Giants seem likely to hit the free agent market for a reliever.
- Pat Burrell hasn't heard from the Phillies yet.
- John Brattain battles Scott Boras on his Manny Ramirez claims.
- Aaron Gleeman suggests the Twins would be better off platooning Brian Buscher and Brendan Harris at third base than acquiring Garrett Atkins.
- Joe Posnanski continues to find the Royals' Mike Jacobs acquisition baffling. Jacobs seems to be aiming for a .320 OBP.
- Free agent pitcher Kenshin Kawakami still hasn't decided whether to jump over to MLB.
- Outfielder Saburo Ohmura seems to have changed his mind - he's likely to remain in Japan.
Links for Sunday...
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia says playing with Jason Varitek for the Red Sox would be a "dream come true."
- Ken Davidoff writes that the White Sox would like to trade Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko or Jim Thome.
- Bernie Miklasz asks whether the Cardinals believe in Ryan Ludwick.
- According to the Chicago Tribune, 19-year-old Cuban prospect Dayan Viciedo has raw tools and questionable commitment. Yesterday, the Chicago Sun-Times suggested the Sox were interested.
- Mike Jacobs doesn't expect to walk more than he did last year.
- Tim Cowlishaw thinks the Rangers should try to sign Manny Ramirez.
- Phil Rogers says that the Cubs could sign Ryan Dempster by Thursday. Rogers doesn't expect Manny Ramirez or C.C. Sabathia to sign soon.
Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star talked to Royals GM Dayton Moore, who suggested he might not be able to do much more this winter due to payroll limitations. After arbitration raises, the Royals should be close to their $60MM budget. So don't look for any big free agent signings unless a player is moved to create payroll room.
Dutton says rumors continue to link the Royals to outmakers Jeff Francoeur and Yuniesky Betancourt. Dutton asked Moore why he seemingly ignored his OBP plan for Mike Jacobs, and Moore said he can only take advantage of the players who are available. Joe Posnanski comments on the recent rumors.
Rounding up linkage for Monday...
- The Jays claimed two players off waivers: shortstop Angel Sanchez and pitcher Kelvin Jimenez.
- The Cubs and Nationals swapped minor leaguers. The Cubs sent pitcher Matt Avery to the Nats for another pitcher named Ryan Buchter.
- Good stuff from ESPN's Jerry Crasnick - he surveyed 15 front-office people on the top stories of the offseason.
- One of a million conversations taking place at the GM meetings: Brian Cashman chatting with Walt Jocketty.
- Tony Massarotti's top five lies told during free agency.
- Ken Davidoff names his top ten GMs.
- Joe Posnanski on the Mike Jacobs-Leo Nunez trade.
- River Ave. Blues explains why the Yankees should offer arbitration to Ivan Rodriguez.
- The official list of the 191 players eligible for free agency.
- The Braves hope to re-sign free agents Will Ohman, Greg Norton, and John Smoltz. The Smoltz situation may not be resolved until January.
- Tracy Ringolsby lists needs for every team.
- The Tigers signed an independent league lefty named Kris Regas to a minor league deal.
- John Shea says the Giants and A's will consider the big-name free agent sluggers this winter.
- Padres GM Kevin Towers doesn't see Manny Ramirez signing until Christmas time. He sees the New York and L.A. teams as suitors.
- Joe Sheehan proposes five radical offseason moves.
- The Cubs signed a couple of Korean players: catcher/outfielder Jae-hoon Ha and pitcher Soo-min Jung.
Links for Friday...
- The A's claimed infielder Joe Dillon off waivers from the Brewers.
- Dave Cameron criticizes the Royals' acquisition of Mike Jacobs. ESPN's Keith Law also panned the move, suggesting Jacobs was a non-tender candidate for the Marlins.
- Peter Abraham breaks down the different types of hot stove stories and sources.
- Derrick Goold looks at Ryan Howard's arbitration case.
- MLB.com's Chris Haft talked to various scouts about Matt Cain's trade value.
- Edgar Renteria hopes to remain in Detroit, saying "Next year, we are going to win everything."
- ESPN's Tim Kurkjian names his top ten offseason storylines.
- Ken Davidoff says the Mets were interested in Brad Lidge last year, but the Astros' asking price was too high.
- Joel Sherman debates the merits of a Luis Castillo-Andruw Jones swap while stressing that no such deal is actually being discussed.
- The 2008 Fielding Bible awards are out.
THURSDAY: It's official: the Royals have acquired Jacobs for Nunez, according to Dutton. It now seems that the Royals have a surplus of 1B/DH types.
WEDNESDAY, 10:38pm: Joe Frisaro of MLB.com says the deal would be Jacobs for Nunez, and it could be announced this week. Nunez, 25, posted a 2.98 ERA in 48.1 innings. His strikeout rate was weak, but he managed to keep the ball in the yard despite flyball tendencies. He threw quite hard, averaging 94.4 mph on his heater. He missed some time with a strained lat.
Rany Jazayerli considers the Royals acquiring Jacobs a terrible idea, and worries that it could lead to a Billy Butler trade.
8:31pm: Dutton says this evening that the Royals are moving closer to a deal for Jacobs. The Marlins apparently rejected a trade for Rosa, and current discussions involve a ready-now reliever. Dutton believes it could be Leo Nunez or Ramon Ramirez.
9:02am: According to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, first baseman Mike Jacobs remains a possible acquisition for the Royals. Jacobs, 28, hit .247/.299/.514 in 519 plate appearances this year. He struggled mightily against lefties this year and in '06, but handled them in '07. Trade talks with the Marlins stalled over the health of pitching prospect Carlos Rosa. The Mariners, Blue Jays, and Giants are also in on Jacobs.
It's surprising to see the Royals apparently willing to give up a prospect for a first baseman - they have a couple of palatable (and cheaper) options in Kila Ka'aihue and Ryan Shealy. Ka'aihue's minor league equivalent says he could hit .243/.390/.442 in the bigs.
Dutton was the original author of Sunday's Mark Teahen/Indians rumor, and he wrote today that sources from both clubs gave it to him. Royals GM Dayton Moore says "somebody lied" along the way.
Mike Berardino of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel talked an industry source who says Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has authorized a payroll of up to $40MM for 2009. This means they won't be forced to trade any of their 16 arbitration-eligible players. Greg Cote first suggested this on September 30th, and Buster Olney reiterated it on October 15th.
However, Berardino confirms Olney's note from Friday: Kevin Gregg, Mike Jacobs, and Scott Olsen are available. The Marlins discussed sending Jacobs to the Royals for righty Carlos Rosa, but the Fish are worried about Rosa's August forearm soreness. A thought: why would the Royals consider trading pitching for Jacobs? Berardino names the Mariners and Blue Jays as other interested parties, and considers the Indians a fit. The Giants have also been named as a suitor.
Berardino wonders if the Rangers will pursue Olsen, perhaps offering a catcher. I don't believe Olsen would succeed in Texas.
Expected to remain in Florida: Dan Uggla, Cody Ross, and Alfredo Amezaga. Berardino says the front office is divided on Jeremy Hermida's potential. Four teams have asked about Hermida. Josh Willingham may be available, but his back is worrisome.
Recently I wrote a Cubs Offseason Outlook, where many reasonable acquisition targets were discussed. If the Cubs re-sign Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood, they'll be limited by payroll unless the salaries of Jason Marquis ($9.875MM) or Derrek Lee ($13MM) are moved.
Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune names his possible Cubs targets: Brian Roberts, Adam Dunn, Jeremy Hermida, Mike Jacobs, Rafael Furcal, Jake Peavy, and Brian Fuentes. Some fun names in there, many of which could only be added if payroll space is created. Dunn would be an interesting choice for a regular right fielder, while Jacobs would represent a downgrade at first base.
The Cubs aren't likely to add Peavy, especially if they re-sign Dempster. If you'd like to take the speculation to the next level nonetheless, Barry Rozner has ideas at the Daily Herald. With any trade scenario, it is always important to put yourself in the shoes of the other team and ask if it is truly the best deal for them.
Change is brewing in the Marlins front office this offseason. Not only have they decided to increase payroll to $30-35MM but also they are actively shopping Mike Jacobs, Scott Olsen, and Kevin Gregg this offseason; so actively, that a deal with Kansas City fell apart last week according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The deal collapsed, according to Jackson, due to "a medical issue involving a minor-league pitcher" from Kansas City.
If, or when, Jacobs is dealt, the Marlins feel Gaby Sanchez can take over at first, and Olsen's spot in the rotation is expected to be occupied by Andrew Miller.
According to Jackson, a number of clubs have inquired about Dan Uggla but Florida seems to be looking for a far greater return for their All Star second baseman. Other names that could wind up on the block are Jeremy Hermida and Josh Willingham who are both arbitration eligible; however, it doesn't seem likely that the Marlins will move either guy.
Should be a fun ballclub to watch this offseason.
From ESPN's Buster Olney this morning:
Wrote here recently that the Marlins intend to keep the vast majority of their arbitration-eligible players, including Dan Uggla, unless they are completely overwhelmed by trade offers. Three of the Marlins' arbitration-eligible players who they are more willing to discuss: first baseman Mike Jacobs, left-hander Scott Olsen and reliever Kevin Gregg.
Olsen looks like a sell-high candidate. The 24 year-old posted a 4.20 ERA in 201.2 innings this year. His strikeout rate has declined every year he's been in the bigs, falling to 5.04 per nine innings this season. He also benefitted from an abnormally low batting average on balls in play. Lastly, his average fastball velocity dropped two miles per hour (now a touch below 88).