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- Phil Mickelson will not be part of the Padres' ownership group, reports Tod Leonard of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The golf star said he isn't "able to make that kind of long-term commitment to the city and to the team."
- It doesn't seem logical for the Rangers to give Edwin Jackson (what would have to be) a four-year, $50MM contract, opines MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. We heard earlier tonight that the Rangers and Cubs were the final two contenders for Jackson's services.
- Major League Baseball has ruled that the $2MM the Angels will donate to Josh Hamilton's charitable foundation will count towards the team's luxury tax payments and be counted as "noncash compensation," reports The Associated Press. FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal noted the charitable portion of Hamilton's contract earlier today.
- It can be difficult for players to mentally adjust to the "baseball limbo" that is the offseason rumor mill, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick writes.
- Money has been no object for Tigers owner Mike Ilitch as he pursues a World Series title, but ESPN's Buster Olney wonders if the Tigers' next owner will be able to keep the club's payroll in the $150MM range given the limitations of Detroit's market. (An ESPN Insider subscription is required to read Olney's column.)
- Nick Swisher will not be visiting the Giants during his tour of potential destinations, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. With the Giants not having enough payroll space left to pursue Swisher, I think we can finally put this rumor to bed.
- The Twins and Carl Pavano don't appear to be a fit, MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger writes. The two sides met during the Winter Meetings and though Pavano has pitched well in Minnesota, he turns 37 in January and missed most of last season with an injured shoulder. I agree with Bollinger that the Twins would probably want a more reliable option than Pavano given that several other projected members of the Twins rotation are also coming back from injuries.
- Baseball people suggest Trevor Bauer has a better chance of becoming an impact player than Didi Gregorius, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. The Diamondbacks sent Bauer to the Indians last week in the three-team deal that brought Gregorius to Arizona. As Piecoro explains in detail, however, there were some questions about Bauer's personality and his ability to be a team player.
MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post
Here's the latest from the Pacific Northwest…
- The Mariners should try something "bold and imaginative" to bring a major hitter to Seattle, such as trading top prospects for a big bat like Curtis Granderson, Andre Ethier, Carlos Gonzalez or Giancarlo Stanton, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal writes.
- Nick Swisher visited Cleveland earlier today to meet with Indians executives and is headed to visit another city, but CBS Sports' Jon Heyman (via Twitter) reports that "the Swisher tour" will not stop in Seattle. The M's would have to give up their first-round pick in next year's draft (No. 12 overall) as compensation for signing a free agent who has declined a qualifying offer from their former team. Heyman tweets that the Mariners aren't willing to sacrifice their pick for Swisher but could do it for "a bigger free agent than Swisher." Michael Bourn seems to be the only free agent left on the market who fits that criteria.
- If the Mariners had $25MM earmarked for Josh Hamilton, Larry Stone of the Seattle Times points out that the club could use that money to sign Bourn and still have enough payroll left to acquire Michael Morse from the Nationals.
- The trade value of elite prospects seems to be dropping, writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, thus hurting the Mariners' chances of using their top minor leaguers as trade chips to acquire proven big league talent.
- Speaking of those Seattle minor leaguers, Fangraphs' Marc Hulet runs down his list of the top 15 prospects in the Mariners' system. "Unlike a lot of the top systems in the game, the bulk of Seattle’s talent is at the Double-A and Triple-A level suggesting better days are ahead for the Mariners and their fans," Hulet writes.
2:24pm: Swisher hasn't signed, but he has a standing offer from the Indians, Bastian reports (on Twitter). The outfielder is now on his way to a different team's city for another visit.
TUESDAY, 12:37pm: Swisher is now meeting with Indians executives, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). The outfielder is scheduled to leave Cleveland this afternoon.
MONDAY, 12:45pm: Swisher is visiting Cleveland tonight to have dinner with Indians team president Mark Shapiro, Nick Camino of WTAM 1100 in Cleveland reports (on Twitter).
11:15am: The Indians are making a push to sign free agent outfielder Nick Swisher, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). The Indians were in "aggressive pursuit" of Swisher last week after trading right fielder Shin-Soo Choo to Cincinnati in a three-team deal. Earlier in the month the Indians had reportedly been hoping to sign Swisher for four years and $48-50MM.
As of last week, multiple teams continued pursuing Swisher and he didn't appear to be close to deciding on a new team. The Red Sox, Phillies, Mariners, Rangers, and Orioles have also been linked to the switch-hitting MVP Sports Group client this winter.
The latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports…
- Rangers officials aren’t overwhelmed by the remaining free agent position players available, Rosenthal reports. Texas has done background work on A.J. Pierzynski, and could work to sign him. However, Adam LaRoche, Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn seem like less likely targets. The Rangers are particularly concerned about makeup, according to Rosenthal. Manager Ron Washington knows Swisher from their days in Oakland and likes the outfielder, Rosenthal reports.
- The Rangers still want to add to their bullpen, and Rosenthal suggests they could make a play for Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan. The team is also exploring other bullpen options via trades and free agency. Hanrahan’s projected salary of $6.9MM limits interest from the Dodgers and Tigers, Rosenthal writes.
- Hiroyuki Nakajima has range that is average “at best,” one executive told Rosenthal. However, the A’s agreed to sign the 30-year-old free agent to a two-year deal in part because they like his offensive potential.
- Now that many free agent third basemen have signed, the Marlins could pursue a top third base prospect who’s close to contributing at the MLB level. However, it would be difficult to put together a package for a player such as Mike Olt.
- Some executives believe the Diamondbacks will trade Justin Upton even after GM Kevin Towers said a deal seems unlikely. There’s a perception that the Diamondbacks are down on Upton, Rosenthal notes.
- When Mets executive Paul DePodesta watched outfield prospect Wuilmer Becerra in 2011, he liked the prospect’s athleticism and effort. The Mets acquired the 18-year-old Becerra in the R.A. Dickey trade.
- The Red Sox are always looking to upgrade their bullpen, Rosenthal adds.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: A.J. Pierzynski | Adam LaRoche | Arizona Diamondbacks | Boston Red Sox | Detroit Tigers | Hiroyuki Nakajima | Joel Hanrahan | Justin Upton | Los Angeles Dodgers | Miami Marlins | Michael Bourn | New York Mets | Nick Swisher | Oakland Athletics | Pittsburgh Pirates | Texas Rangers
10:04am: A source close to the Dodgers told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that the team's one conversation with Swisher came weeks ago (Twitter links). The Dodgers aren't shopping Ethier and haven't received offers for him so far, Heyman adds.
9:30am: Two American League teams asked about Ethier, but the Dodgers have "zero intention" of trading him, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). The Dodgers will listen to offers.
8:34am: Six months after extending Andre Ethier, the Dodgers are considering trading him. The Dodgers are shopping Ethier, and could be a suitor for Nick Swisher if they complete a trade, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports (on Twitter).
Ethier will earn $85MM from 2013-17 after signing a five-year deal with the Dodgers this past June. Ethier’s deal took place soon after Guggenheim Baseball Management gained control of the team, and foreshadowed the aggressive spending that would take place in the months that followed. The Dodgers acquired Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett from the Red Sox in a midseason trade, taking on approximately $260MM in the process. Then, once the offseason began, they spent aggressively on international free agents and landed the top pitcher available, signing Zack Greinke for $147MM.
While recent history suggests the team can afford to spend big on Swisher, GM Ned Colletti would need to create roster space for him. Swisher, a client of MVP Sports Group, is two years older than the 30-year-old Ethier. A switch-hitter, Swisher doesn't have the same pronounced platoon splits Ethier does. While Ethier thrives against right-handers and struggles against left-handers, Swisher has a career OPS of .820 against right-handers and a career OPS of .842 against left-handers.
The Indians met with Swisher last night and the Red Sox, Phillies, Mariners, Rangers, and Orioles have also been linked to him. Some of these teams could have interest in trading for Ethier, particularly if the Dodgers are willing to cover some salary to facilitate a deal.
It's been another major day of hot stove news, headlined by Josh Hamilton's deal with the Angels and Anibal Sanchez's forthcoming choice between the Cubs and Tigers. Here are some final items as we hit Friday…
- Michael Bourn's market has become hard to determine, though MLB.com's Richard Justice notes that the Hamilton, Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols signings have taught us that top free agents tend to get their paydays, sometimes with surprising teams.
- Nick Swisher has never seen the Red Sox "as a likely landing spot," reports Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). Boston is one of several teams — including the Phillies, Orioles, Indians, Rangers and Mariners — linked to the free agent slugger this winter.
- Cuban players Dariel Alvarez and shortstop Aledmys Diaz are both officially free agents, tweets Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald. Alvarez, a 24-year-old outfielder, and 22-year-old shortstop Diaz were profiled by MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez last month.
- MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli breaks down the contract details of the arbitration-avoiding deals signed by Taylor Teagarden, Alexi Casilla and Steve Pearce with the Orioles, plus the details of Mark Reynolds' one-year contract with the Indians.
- The Diamondbacks are more likely to trade Jason Kubel than Justin Upton at this point, opines MLB.com's Steve Gilbert (Twitter link).
- The Rangers may have lost Hamilton today but a rival executive tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link) that the Rangers could potentially sign Swisher, A.J. Pierzynski and Adam LaRoche to upgrade their lineup.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports looks at how the Phillies and Red Sox are planning to rebound in 2013.
Here's the latest on the World Series champions, courtesy of The San Francisco Chronicle's Hank Schulman…
- The Giants aren't close (Twitter link) to a deal to bring back former closer Brian Wilson. The club assumes that Wilson will only consider a return once he's closely looked at his other choices. Schulman reported earlier this month that Wilson had some hard feelings towards the Giants for non-tendering him and was looking to pitch elsewhere, preferably for the Red Sox or one of the Los Angeles teams.
- Nick Swisher doesn't appear to be a target (Twitter link) for the Giants.
- Cody Ross, Scott Hairston and Reed Johnson were all considered by the Giants as right-handed hitting outfield options, but the three players "either were not willing to take a part-timer's salary or not what the Giants wanted defensively." San Francisco instead reached agreement with Andres Torres to a one-year, $2MM contract earlier today.
- Giants president Larry Baer said his club feels no pressure to make any big moves to counter the Dodgers. "Our strategy is just different, developing guys and bringing them through the system and sprinkling in free agents and trades when it makes sense," Baer said. "We've done free agents before, but we're trying to do more of a homegrown thing…You can't let what any other team does alter your strategy. That would be a mistake. If we're going to look at the Dodgers spending all this money and say we're going to be free-agent-centric, we don't think that would be smart."
- In news from earlier today, the Giants are believed to have offered Ichiro Suzuki a two-year, $15MM contract, but Ichiro is on his way to taking a slightly smaller contract to re-sign with the Yankees.
Here's the latest on how Josh Hamilton's agreement with the Angels will affect several other players and teams all around the league, including how close some other teams came to signing the free agent slugger themselves…
- The Rangers have told Geovany Soto he'll be their everyday catcher in 2013, but ESPN's Buster Olney wonders if the Rangers could now pursue free agent backstop A.J. Pierzynski. Also from Olney, rival evaluators are speculating that the Rangers might now be the best fit for Nick Swisher (both links are to Olney's Twitter account).
- The Mariners "badly wanted" Hamilton, which means the Angels disappointed two of their AL West rivals today, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). MLB.com's Greg Johns hears that the M's were heavily courting Hamilton and "had strong hopes" he would sign with them.
- The Red Sox had interest in Hamilton but weren't willing to offer a contract longer than three years, reports WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.
- The Phillies were similarly not interested in Hamilton at such a high price, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Hamilton's signing could increase interest in other free agent outfielders like Swisher and Cody Ross, thus possibly pricing the Phillies out of the market and forcing them to turn their attention to acquiring pitching instead.
- The Marlins could reverse their stance on trading Giancarlo Stanton, opines MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, if the Rangers are desperate to add another big bat and were willing to offer Jurickson Profar or Mike Olt in a deal. Frisaro also thinks Miami could be a trade match with the Angels as Peter Bourjos "has been on the Marlins' radar for a while."
- Fangraphs' Dave Cameron breaks down the value of Mark Trumbo, Kendrys Morales and Bourjos both to the Angels and on the trade market.
- Bourjos, for his part, tells MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez that he wants to remain in Anaheim and enjoys being an Angel, though he also wants to be an everyday player.
- ESPN's Keith Law doesn't see Hamilton providing much value in the last two years of his contract, though his signing "makes more sense" if the Angels trade some roster depth to fill the holes in their rotation. Law also notes that Michael Bourn appears to be running out of suitors, and speculates that Bourn could look for a one-year deal now and then look for a big multiyear contract next winter.
- Early today, we looked at rumors concerning the possibility of the Angels and Mets working out a trade involving R.A. Dickey.
MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith also contributed to this post
- The Rangers haven’t pushed hard for free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter). It appears that they’ll look at other options following the departure of Hamilton. However, Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that LaRoche's name came up today and that Texas might be willing to offer three years (Twitter link).
- The Rangers would like to add a pitcher, and are looking at mid-rotation starters, including Edwin Jackson, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports.
- Managers Robin Ventura and Bobby Valentine reflected on Kevin Youkilis' 2012 season with Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Also within the piece, Sherman shows that the Giants won the 2012 World Series without spending more than $1.25MM on a free agent during the winter of 2011-12. Yes, Ryan Theriot was San Francisco's most expensive free agent signing a year ago.
- Multiple teams continue pursuing Nick Swisher, but the free agent outfielder is “not even close” to making a decision, Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). At least three clubs are in the mix and a fourth may be involved. The Indians appear to be pursuing Swisher aggressively, and the Red Sox, Phillies, Mariners, Rangers, and Orioles have also been linked to him.
The Indians are in "aggressive pursuit" of Nick Swisher in the wake of the Shin-Soo Choo trade, reports ESPN's Jim Bowden (Twitter links). Mark Feinsand of The New York Daily News says the Red Sox, Phillies, Mariners, Rangers, and Orioles have interest in the free agent switch-hitter as well.
Swisher, 32, hit .272/.364/.473 with 24 homers for the Yankees this season. It was his seventh consecutive season of 145+ games played and 22+ homers, one of only three big leaguers who can make that claim. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes ranked Swisher as the sixth best free agent available this offseason, predicting he would sign with Baltimore.