New York Mets Rumors
Here's a look at some news out of the NL East following the Marlins' shocking trade earlier this evening..
- The Mets made an offer to David Wright and the third baseman's representatives responded with a counter-offer, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- The $15MM that is being deferred to Jason Bay will be paid out over a two year period, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. That means that the Mets are only saving about $850K on the full $21MM Bay is owed.
- The Phillies are wide open in their search for a third baseman, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The club could look at multi-position types like Marco Scutaro and Jeff Keppinger as well as someone like Kevin Youkilis.
- At a charity event earlier today, Mets owner Jeff Wilpon said that the the Mets remain focused on signing David Wright and R.A. Dickey, but added that they would be remiss to not explore the trade market in the process, tweets Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger.
- Wilpon said that the club hopes to sign both Wright and Dickey with a trade of one or both as their backup plan, Mike Kerwick of the Bergen Record tweets.
- A Mets source tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (via Twitter) that "nothing has changed" for the club since the GM meetings.
The Dodgers have been said to have interest in free agent outfielder Torii Hunter, but their level of interest may have been overstated, according to Dylan Hernandez and Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. The team met with Hunter’s agent at the GM meetings this week, but a source says that it was Hunter’s agent who initially reached out to the Dodgers, not the other way around. Since the Dodgers won't move Andre Ethier, Hunter's only possible role would be as a fourth outfielder and the veteran isn't terribly interested in doing that. Hunter's agent has also talked with the Tigers, Rays, Yankees, and Phillies and tells clubs that his client wants a multi-year contract. Here's more from around baseball..
- MLB.com's Thomas Harding writes that Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey isn't sure whether the club will trade him this winter if they can't reach agreement on a contract extension, but his preference is to stay in New York.
- The Mets don't want to go to arbitration with Andres Torres, but the club has not ruled out bringing him back for 2013, a source tells Dan Martin of the New York Post. Torres would be in line for a slight raise over the $2.7MM he earned last season through arbitration, but the club could bring him back at a more reasonable price. I profiled Torres as a non-tender candidate back in September.
- The Yankees have faith they can make deals with pitchers Mariano Rivera, Hiroki Kuroda, and Andy Pettitte, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. When it comes to Kuroda, the Yanks see Japan as a bigger threat to pull him away than teams like the Red Sox or the Dodgers.
- The weak crop of catchers on this year's open market could yield a high return for the Red Sox if they trade Jarrod Saltalamacchia, writes Tim Britton of The Providence Journal.
Earlier today, the Red Sox agreed to sign free agent catcher David Ross to a two-year, $6.2MM contract. With Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway already behind the plate, could Boston be gearing up for a trade? Here's more on that and other items out of Boston..
- An official with another club told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the Red Sox are willing to consider offers for Saltalamacchia. Saltalamacchia hit a career-high 25 homers in 2012 but saw his average dip as his strikeout total soared.
- If the Red Sox do look to move Salty, the Mets and White Sox are among the clubs that are in need of catching, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Lauber suggests that the Mets could use Jon Niese while the White Sox might be willing to trade Gavin Floyd. Yesterday, Mets GM Sandy Alderson addressed the idea of trading Niese without being prompted.
- Officials from the Mets and Red Sox told Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter) earlier this week that they hadn't discussed a deal involving Saltalamacchia, but the Ross signing could ignite talks.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com also notes that the Red Sox have interest in Mike Napoli and his acquisition would further squeeze Saltalamacchia out of the picture. Napoli would spend the bulk of his time at first base if he winds up in Boston, but he would still factor into the catching situation.
- Boston's acquisition of Ross gives them a great deal of flexibility going forward this winter and even potentially into next season, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
Cabrera, 28, is arguably the most unique free agent on the market this offseason. He was performing like a star (.346/.390/.516) with the Giants this summer before being suspended 50 games for a positive PED test, which he tried to cover up with a website scheme. Given his age and production, Melky would have been in line for a huge payday. Instead, he'll likely have to settle for a short-term contract in an effort to rebuild value.
MLBTR's Tim Dierkes ranked Cabrera as the 18th best free agent in his Top 50 Free Agents List, predicting he would sign with the Red Sox.
Condolences to the family and friends of Lee MacPhail, who passed away at the age of 95 today. MacPhail was a long-time executive who worked with the Yankees and Orioles in addition to serving as Commissioner William Eckert's chief aid. He also served as president of the American League and was the oldest living Hall of Famer.
Here is the latest from around the league as Friday turns into Saturday...
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson hears that Adam LaRoche hasn't heard from the Nationals in a few days, but he's still interested in returning to the team (Twitter link). LaRoche turned down Washington's qualifying offer today.
- The Orioles are still talking to Nate McLouth, reports Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). The team is optimistic a deal will get done, but nothing is imminent.
- The Mets have more payroll flexibility than expected, but GM Sandy Alderson told Mike Puma of the New York Post that he's still "realistic" about the players they can acquire (Twitter links). Alderson referenced the "bottom end" of the free agent market.
- "We are not shopping him," said Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez when asked about the Trevor Bauer trade rumors. "Again, if they ask, [GM Kevin Towers'] response is 'Hey, we are willing to listen,' and that's what's happened here."
- Earlier today we heard that the Tigers made a contract offer to Jeremy Bonderman, but the right-hander told MLB.com's Jason Beck that it's news to him (Twitter links). Bonderman cautioned that he usually lets his agent handle contract matters.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (on Twitter) that outfielder Nick Weglarz is drawing interest as a free agent thanks to his left-handed bat. The 24-year-old hit .239/.349/.413 with 14 homers in 436 plate appearances for the Indians' Double-A affiliate last year.
Determined to become more of a power-oriented team, the Mets have decided against trading Ike Davis this winter, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Mets originally considered trading Davis and moving Lucas Duda to first base, but the club will now slot Duda in left field and keep Davis at first in an effort to boost their home run total.
General Manager Sandy Alderson is expected to do even more to add power to the Mets lineup. If the Mets wind up trading R.A. Dickey, they would push to get at least one young slugger in return, preferably an outfielder. Sherman also writes that the Mets can be expected to pursue low-cost veteran sluggers and may consider names such as Jonny Gomes and Raul Ibanez.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has another batch of news items out of the general managers' meetings in Indian Wells, California...
- While the Rays have the pitching depth to move two of their starters, they're likely to move just one of their pitchers. David Price and James Shields are the biggest trade chips, though most in the industry feel Tampa Bay will keep both aces to make a play for the AL East title in 2013. There is "no chance" Price is dealt this winter, one rival executive tells Rosenthal, though Price could be moved next offseason.
- The Brewers are interested in free agent right-hander Ryan Dempster.
- The Mets' willingness to trade R.A. Dickey is seen by "many in the industry" as a tactic to get Dickey to accept a club-friendly extension, which Rosenthal thinks is a flawed strategy.
- Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima is now a free agent who can sign with Major League teams without going through the posting process. Rosenthal says the shortstop-needy Diamondbacks and Athletics are "at least mildly intrigued" by Nakajima and the Giants could also pursue Nakajima as a second baseman if they can't re-sign Marco Scutaro. The Yankees won the right to negotiate with Nakajima last winter after submitting a winning posting bid of $2MM, but Nakajima couldn't come to terms with New York and he re-signed with the Seibu Lions. The 30-year-old Nakajima has a .310/.381/.474 batting line and 104 homers over the last six years with Seibu.
We've already had one batch of NL East notes today but there's no shortage of news coming out of the division. Here's the latest...
- The Braves are looking at center field options to replace Michael Bourn and the Twins' Denard Span "is likely high on the list of potential trade target," writes David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Braves and Twins match up well as trade partners, as Minnesota is desperate for pitching and Atlanta is one of the few teams with available young arms. The Braves "haven’t entirely given up" on re-signing Bourn, but the club is unlikely to match the demands from Bourn and agent Scott Boras.
- Despite a report last week that claimed the Braves were "intrigued" by Josh Hamilton, O'Brien doesn't think Atlanta has much interest, as Hamilton is too expensive and the club would prefer to add a right-handed hitting bat.
- While the Mets have begun to explore trade possibilities for R.A. Dickey, the Mets aren't yet looking to deal David Wright, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. While the two sides aren't close to a contract extension, "there's always been a feeling something will get done with Wright, and while talks are taking much longer than expected or predicted, that hasn't changed," Heyman writes.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro spoke to Larry Reynolds (B.J. Upton's agent) at the general managers' meetings and the two sides plan to stay in contact, a source tells Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. One executive told Salisbury that Upton "was the Phils' priority" this offseason.
- The Phillies are close to a new contract with Kevin Frandsen, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link). The 30-year-old Frandsen hit an impressive .338/.383/.451 in 210 plate appearances for the Phillies last season, taking over as their regular third baseman in the second half of the year. Frandsen is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, and MLBTR's Matt Swartz projected Frandsen would earn $800K.
Sandy Alderson met with reporters (including Adam Rubin of ESPN New York) at the general managers' meetings today to discuss various Mets-related topics. Here are some of the highlights of Alderson's talk and also some other Mets items...
- Talks with David Wright's representatives are "ongoing," with Alderson noting that both sides have agreed to keep negotiations out of the media. Alderson noted that "there's much more engagement" with Wright than the Mets had last year with free agent Jose Reyes, who ended up signing with the Marlins.
- Despite reports saying the Mets are looking into trading R.A. Dickey, Alderson said "our focus -- almost exclusive focus -- has been to try to re-sign him at this point."
- "We're not looking to go out of our way" to trade pitching, Alderson said, though the GM admitted that pitching depth is the team's strength and the Mets could move an arm in the right deal to enhance their lineup.
- Jason Bay's release from his contract "probably enhances" Scott Hairston's chances of returning to the Mets, Alderson said.
- Reports that Dickey is looking for an extension similar to Oliver Perez's three-year, $36MM contract with the Mets from 2009 is "completely incorrect," a team source tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. The Mets believe they can lock up Dickey to a shorter and less expensive deal. Dickey is already under contract for 2013, as the Mets picked up their $5MM option on the knuckleballer.
- J.P. Ricciardi has signed a three-year extension to remain as a special assistant to Alderson, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (via Twitter). Ricciardi, the former Blue Jays general manager, has been with the Mets since November 2010.
- Also from Cafardo, there have been "no bites" from teams about Johan Santana. Though Santana pitched very well over his first 16 starts of the 2012 season, it's hard to see teams lining up to acquire him given that Santana was hit hard from July onward and spent most of the second half on the DL, not to mention his $25.5MM salary in 2013.
1:25pm: Alderson acknowledged the trade talks and said he doesn't expect them to accelerate during the GM Meetings according to Martino, who heard from other executives that talks are just preliminary (Twitter link). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter) that the Mets seek outfield and catcher help in a deal. They still haven't ruled out an extension either.
11:51am: Andy Martino of The New York Daily News says there is still "healthy internal debate" about Dickey within the organization and that nothing is final (Twitter links). They could look to act quickly if progress towards a contract extension is made, however.
11:34am: The Mets are showing little interest in signing R.A. Dickey to an extension and are discussing the knuckleballer in trades, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Earlier this morning Joel Sherman of The New York Post reported that there is still a significant gap in contract talks, so the team started to gauge trade interest.
Dickey, 38, is a finalist for the Cy Young Award after pitching to a 2.73 ERA this season. He led the NL in starts (33), innings (233 2/3), and strikeouts (230) while winning 20 games. The Mets exercised Dickey's club option after the season, so he'll earn $5MM next season before qualifying for free agency. Zack Greinke is the only ace-caliber pitcher on the free agent market, so GM Sandy Alderson has some leverage in trade talks even though Dickey is only under contract for one more year.