Nick Johnson Rumors
5:36pm: The A's are confident they can sign Matsui, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter).
2:32pm: This morning, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle posted the latest on the Athletics' search for a designated hitter:
- Vladimir Guerrero is now open to a one-year deal with any AL West team. The Mariners are probably not a match given the Jack Cust signing, and the Angels probably aren't planning a reunion, so this news really only affects the Athletics. Meanwhile, the Rangers still consider Vlad their best DH option and are optimistic about a deal according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
- The A's still have Hideki Matsui atop their list, though he's drawn interest from the Orioles and possibly Rangers.
- Nick Johnson, said to be fully recovered from wrist surgery, is also in the mix for Oakland.
The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser has some updates regarding Oakland's offseason plans:
- Oakland increased its offer to Japanese righty Hisashi Iwakuma, but the two sides were still unable to agree on a deal. Iwakuma was looking for around $12MM per season, and the A's were unwilling to spend more than $36MM, including the posting fee. The A's will have interest in Iwakuma again next offseason, when he is a free agent and doesn't require a posting fee. However, relations may be strained after Iwakuma's agent Don Nomura told the AP the A's "never showed any respect" toward his client.
- The A's may take the $19.1MM posting fee that will be returned and focus on other areas, including Hideki Matsui. Oakland GM Billy Beane met with Matui's agent, Arn Tellem, Monday at the Winter Meetings. According to Slusser, Matsui has "strong interest" in playing for the A's. Derrek Lee and Nick Johnson are potential alternatives.
- According to this tweet from Slusser, if the A's look to add a veteran starter, it may be a familiar face, coming in the form of Justin Duchscherer.
The Cubs plan to add a starter, a right handed reliever and a first baseman this offseason and the Chicago Sun-Times has the details on which players could be suiting up at Wrigley Field in 2011:
- There are indications that GM Jim Hendry is focusing on “the likes of” Nick Johnson if the medicals look good enough. Johnson appeared in just 24 games last year, but has a .401 career on base percentage and doubles power. A year ago the Cubs signed another former Yankee coming off an injury-plagued season, but the Xavier Nady deal didn’t work out as well as the Cubs hoped.
- Hendry is keeping an eye on Kerry Wood, a player who would reportedly interest the Cubs at the right price. The GM says he has a “wonderful relationship” with Wood, but insisted that it would be foolish to get into specifics.
- The Cubs don’t have a firm payroll, but it still appears that the team will spend less than it did in 2010.
The Phillies won their second World Series in franchise history two years ago today, beating the Rays in the first suspended game in series history. Game Five started on October 27th, 2008, and the two clubs played to a 2-2 tie through the first five and a half innings before rain forced the suspension. The game didn't resume until October 29th due to the weather, but when it finallly did the Phillies outscored Tampa 2-1 the rest of the way for a 4-3 final score.
There's no weather-related delay for these links; here's the best from around the web this week...
- Capitol Avenue Club provides a primer for the Braves' offseason.
- Pine Tar And Pocket Protectors explains how Mark Teixeira built the AL Champion Rangers.
- The Baseball Opinion re-lives Sandy Alderson's biggest trade.
- DRays Bay compiles Andrew Friedman's offseason to-do list.
- Meanwhile, The Process Report thinks about Nick Johnson as a cheap option for the Rays.
- Drunk Jays Fans reacts to the John Farrell hiring and more.
- Baseball Analytics breaks down Pat Burrell's resurgence.
- Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness wonders if Ivan DeJesus should get a crack at the Dodgers second base job next year.
- Disciples of Uecker says it's time for Josh Butler to put up or shut up. The Brewers acquired Butler for Gabe Gross in 2008.
- Yankeeist wonders what would have happened if the Yankees managed to acquire Dan Haren this summer.
- SPANdemonium compares the Rangers, Rays and Royals.
If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.
The Yankees declined their 2011 options for Kerry Wood, Lance Berkman and Nick Johnson and exercised their option on 2007 first rounder Andrew Brackman. It cost the Yankees $2MM to buy out Berkman's $15MM option and $250K to buy out Johnson's $5.5MM option.
Wood, 33, posted a 0.69 ERA with 10.7 K/9 in 24 regular season appearances for the Yankees, and was outstanding in the playoffs. It would have cost the Yankees $11MM to exercise the righty's 2011 option, so turning it down was presumably easy for GM Brian Cashman and the rest of the team's front office.
Berkman, 34, batted just .255/.358/.349 after the Yankees acquired him from the Astros in a July trade. Johnson performed worse than that in his 98 plate appearances. The 32-year-old posted a .167/.388/.306 line in his return to the Bronx. Like Berkman, he reached base without providing any pop.
Picking up Brackman's option was a formality. The 24-year-old posted a 3.90 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in the minors last year, reaching Double-A for the first time, so the Yankees weren't about to let him go.
The Yankees have fired pitching coach Dave Eiland, GM Brian Cashman told reporters today (Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News seemingly tweeted it first). Cashman said his reasons for the dismissal are private. Other Yankees notes of interest:
- Cashman will meet with Joe Girardi's agent tomorrow about a new contract, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- The Yankees and Girardi need each other, says the New York Post's Joel Sherman, though he feels the manager regressed this year.
- Cashman on Derek Jeter, from Feinsand: "He's going to be a part of this franchise. We'll work something out."
- Cashman noted that the team's option decisions on Kerry Wood, Lance Berkman, and Nick Johnson are "all pretty obvious," implying that the three will be declined.
- SI's Jon Heyman previews the Yankees' offseason, guessing they'd gladly sign Cliff Lee for five years and $125MM if he'd take it. Instead, Lee could look for C.C. Sabathia money.
- Nick Johnson's 2011 option is very unlikely to be exercised, as Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News writes. Heading into the season, controlling Johnson for $5.5MM in 2011 looked reasonable for the Yankees. But a disappointing, injury-plagued season for the 31-year-old means that money could be better spent elsewhere.
- Joe Girardi and Doug Melvin told Chad Jennings of The Journal News and MLB.com's Adam McCalvy, respectively, that they're not expecting their clubs to make any trades.
- Chone Figgins, the subject of a few trade rumors this summer, tells Doug Miller of MLB.com, "I don't want to go anywhere. I chose to come here, because I like the direction and I like the guys that are here."
- The Mariners have shut down pitching prospect Michael Pineda for the year, writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. Pineda is fine physically and will compete for a spot in the rotation next spring, according to Jack Zduriencik.
- Cody Ross told Jim Bowden on Fox Sports Radio (Twitter link) that he was "shocked" the Marlins moved him.
- Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer conducts a Q&A with Drew Pomeranz, the Indians' fifth overall pick in this year's draft.
On this date back in 2004, Alex Rodriguez returned to Texas to play the Rangers for the first time since being traded (along with $71MM) to the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano and Joaquin Arias. He was booed loudly just like every other road game of his career, though he silenced the home crowd - at least temporarily - with a two-run homer in the first inning.
Here are a few links from around the baseball blogosphere...
- Disciples of Uecker thinks it's time for Trevor Hoffman to call it a career.
- Mets Merized wants to know what happened to Jason Bay's power.
- Meanwhile, Camden Crazies looks at Nick Markakis' lack of pop.
- The Kept Faith says that it's time for the Oscar Salazar era to end in San Diego.
- Nick's Twins Blog isn't sure if Jesse Crain can right the ship.
- Yankeeist wonders if Marcus Thames will be able to replace the injured Nick Johnson.
- The Friarhood examines some players the Padres could select in next month's amateur draft.
Links for Sunday, as we wait to see if the Dodgers can extend their six-game winning streak....
- Ken Rosenthal writes that the Nationals promoted the 10th overall pick from the 2009 draft, Drew Storen, today. Storen had annihilated minor league hitters across two levels this season.
- Ozzie Guillen understands the reasoning behind GM Kenny Williams' recent public confirmation that he's losing patience with his ballclub, writes Ken Falkoff on MLB.com.
- Two players signed to one-year deals, Justin Duchscherer and Nick Johnson, could require surgeries that would sideline them for most or all of this season. MLB.com's Jane Lee and Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork have the details.
- Bill Ladson of MLB.com tweets that Willy Taveras may not accept a minor league assignment if he clears waivers. Taveras was DFA'd by the Nationals last night.
- Luis Ayala has exercised the opt-out clause in his contract, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). The Dodgers will have to add Ayala to their 25-man roster by Monday afternoon or release him.
- Earlier in the week, MLB.com's Chris Haft floated the idea of the Giants moving Aubrey Huff to left field to make room at first base for Buster Posey. According to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, Huff is open to the idea and thinks Posey would do well at first base.
- Speaking of Posey, John Sickels asks who you'd rather have: the Giants' prospect or Carlos Santana of the Indians.
- The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes details the Indians' changing draft strategy, and fields readers' Tribe-related questions in a mailbag.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette lists the top ten best investments made by the Pirates' current regime.
Links for Saturday...
- Geoff Jenkins told Tom Haudricourt of The Journal Sentinel that he received several offers in Spring Training this year, but they were all jobs in Triple-A, which "wasn't in [his] heart." Earlier tonight we learned that Jenkins is close to announcing his retirement.
- Despite his team's poor start, Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail believes his team is on the right track with their rebuilding effort, says Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun.
- Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News provides a follow-up to today's Bengie Molina discussion in a series of tweets. Baggarly says service time will not factor into Buster Posey's potential promotion, and doesn't think the Giants will shop Molina after Posey arrives. Baggarly adds that Molina's hamstring injury is not serious and no roster move will be needed.
- Molina told Kevin Burkhardt of SNY that he wanted to sign with the Mets and was ready to move his family to New York, but was upset that they refused to increase their offer to two guaranteed years. (hat tip to Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog.com)
- In a CMSB radio interview, Newsday's Ken Davidoff suggests that Cliff Lee and Paul Konerko will be two of the most interesting players to monitor as the trade deadline approaches.
- John Shea of The San Francisco Chronicle has some quotes from Eric Chavez, who admitted feeling pressure to perform since this is the last year of his contract. He also understands that the A's need a productive DH, which he hasn't been. Through 91 plate appearances, Chavez is hitting .220/.275/.305.
- CC Sabathia doesn't believe that Victor Martinez's impending free agency is the reason behind his former battery mate's slow start, according to WEEI.com's Alex Speier. V-Mart is hitting just .267/.330/.381 on the year, though he's picked it up of late.
- Joel Sherman of The New York Post wonders why the Yankees would do business with the injury prone Nick Johnson instead of waiting out Johnny Damon. Johnson left last night's game with a sore right wrist and appears headed for the disabled list.
- Ever wonder what happened to the six players that went to Florida in the Miguel Cabrera-Dontrelle Willis blockbuster? The Detroit Free Press has the answer.