Nick Swisher Rumors
Between the Mets' R.A. Dickey trade talks and the Nationals' signing of Dan Haren, much of today's major news has come out of the National League. Here are a few more updates from across the Senior Circuit....
- Although the Marlins have no intention of trading Giancarlo Stanton, that certainly hasn't stopped teams from calling to ask about him, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. "It would be easier to list who hasn't called," a source close to the Marlins told Knobler.
- With Angel Pagan locked up, the Giants have turned their attention to corner outfielders, and have spoken to Nick Swisher's reps, says Ken Davidoff of the New York Post (on Twitter). However, the team will likely target a more affordable option -- perhaps Ryan Ludwick or Scott Hairston.
- The Mets, in their search for veteran left-handers for the bullpen, have inquired on Manny Parra, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter).
- The Dodgers are shopping for a shortstop or third baseman to pair with Hanley Ramirez on the left side of the infield, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, adding that the team's approach at this point appears to involve pursuing an All-Star at every position.
- In addition to a center fielder, the Phillies also need a right fielder and a third baseman, though they likely won't be able to afford both, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. tells Jayson Stark of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
- Yuniesky Betancourt is among the third base options being considered by the Cubs, writes Carrie Muskat at MLB.com.
With plenty of rumors flying around the lobby of the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, we're making sure we don't let anything slip through the cracks. Here are a few morning updates from around the league on some of this winter's free agents:
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Mets have displayed interest in the recently non-tendered John Lannan, perhaps as insurance if the team trades a starter.
- Although he hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2009, Kelvim Escobar is healthy in winter ball and is drawing interest at the Winter Meetings, tweets ESPN.com's Buster Olney.
- The Yankees have spoken with Kevin Youkilis' agent, reports Jack Curry of the YES Network (Twitter link). According to Curry, Youkilis would consider a one-year deal if the salary was at a "premium amount."
- The Mariners are interested in free agent outfielder Nate McLouth, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- A rival evaluator tells ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Twitter link) that there's "no way" Stephen Drew would sign with the Yankees to be a part-time or utility player. Drew is seeking a full-time job.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington acknowledged that giving up a draft pick to sign Nick Swisher would be a factor in Boston's pursuit of the outfielder (link via Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com).
- Mike Silverman of the Boston Herald hears that the Red Sox still have a chance in the Josh Hamilton sweepstakes, but it's a long shot (Twitter link).
- After getting a clean bill of health on his hand and wrist, Ian Stewart has drawn wide interest from teams looking for third base help, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Tyler Kepner of the New York Times notes (via Twitter) that Stewart could be a fit for the Yankees.
- Within his latest piece for the New York Post, Ken Davidoff hears that the Mets and Ryan Ludwick are an unlikely match, and wonders if Nick Swisher could end up with the Mariners.
- The Reds will meet with Ludwick's agent this morning, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The veteran outfielder could accept the offer on the table from Cincinnati, though Fay speculates that the Reds are offering two years and Ludwick wants three. A two-year deal with a third-year option might work for both sides, says Fay.
- The Athletics will meet with the reps for Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima today, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- The Dodgers, Giants, Brewers, Angels, and Rays are among the teams that have inquired on free agent reliever Mark Lowe, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Scott Kazmir, who is throwing 90-94 mph in Puerto Rico, is drawing interest from a host of teams and could choose from a handful of offers soon, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. However, the Mets aren't in the mix for the lefty, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
After taking a quick look at the latest notes out of the AL Central, we'll do the same with the AL East:
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Yankees continue to be in on Scott Hairston, but it will likely take a two-year deal to lock him up, and New York would rather avoid adding 2014 salary.
- Sherman adds in a separate tweet that a Padres official insists the team isn't moving Chase Headley, so he's unlikely to be an option for the Yankees.
- Nick Swisher is drawing interest from a number of teams, including the Red Sox, but he may exercise some patience before agreeing to a deal, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Bradford hears from a source that Swisher may wait to sign until after Josh Hamilton has secured a deal. The WEEI.com scribe also reiterates that Boston's signing of Mike Napoli hasn't taken them out of the running for Swisher, as we heard earlier today.
- Discussing Alex Rodriguez's hip surgery at an afternoon press conference, Yankees GM Brian Cashman indicated that the team will "become very aggressive" if they see an opportunity to upgrade at third base that makes sense (Twitter link via MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith).
- In his latest column for FOX Sports, Jon Morosi explains why he thinks the Yankees should pursue Chase Headley, and explores what sort of return the Padres could expect for their star third baseman.
- According to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, Orioles GM Dan Duquette said on MLB Network Radio today that the club's decision to non-tender Mark Reynolds was made in part because the O's believed Reynolds could be in line for a salary of $12-14MM through arbitration. MLBTR was projecting a salary in the neighborhood of $8.9MM for Reynolds before he was non-tendered.
Agreeing to sign Mike Napoli doesn't take the Red Sox out of the running for Nick Swisher, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, who says (via Twitter) that the Sox remain in talks with Swisher. Cody Ross and Shane Victorino also remain on Boston's radar, though the team is likely out of the running for Adam LaRoche, tweets ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.
The Red Sox were said on Friday to be one of a number of clubs that has spoken to Swisher's representatives. However, both Swisher and the Red Sox are considering their options, tweets Scott Miller of CBS Sports. Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald adds (via Twitter) that Boston's pursuit of Swisher had been moving slowly, though that could change now that the team has locked up Napoli.
Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Twitter link) believes the market for Swisher could become much clearer once Josh Hamilton signs. If Hamilton leaves Texas, Swisher could be a good fit with the Rangers, says Olney.
Teams must decide by tonight whether to tender contracts to their arbitration eligible players. MLBTR will have you covered throughout the evening, so be sure to follow along and use MLBTR's Non-Tender Tracker. In the meantime, here are today’s links...
- The Angels recently checked in on Dan Haren, who’s getting interest from lots of East Coast teams, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports (on Twitter).
- Nick Swisher told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that he’s trying to enjoy the process of being a free agent. "It's supposed to be an exciting time, not a stressful time,” Swisher said. “I'm over the stressful part now. I'm going to just have fun with this. I just want to scroll to the bottom line, sign my names in a few places, and get ready to play." The Red Sox, Orioles, Mariners and Rangers have talked to Swisher’s representatives at MVP Sports Group, Nightengale reports. Swisher has also been linked to a number of National League teams, including the Nationals, Phillies, Braves and Giants. The 32-year-old said he will play first base or right field in any city.
- David Ortiz said on WEEI said the Red Sox "need some thunder in that lineup,” Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. The veteran designated hitter explained that he'd like to see the Red Sox re-sign free agent Cody Ross.
- The Astros almost completed one trade this week, but GM Jeff Luhnow doesn't expect to complete any deals before the Winter Meetings, Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle reports.
It's a good time to be a free agent catcher with power. Interest in Russell Martin remains strong, and the market for Mike Napoli seems similarly active. Here’s the latest on Napoli on a day that he had been scheduled to meet with the Rangers...
- The Rangers remain focused on Napoli, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). Their interest in Martin will increase only if Texas believes Napoli’s asking price is too high.
- The Red Sox are in contact with Napoli, Nick Swisher and Cody Ross and all three free agents remain in play for Boston, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. Napoli, Swisher and Ross appear to be the top targets for the Red Sox, who seek help at first base and in the outfield. One executive said he views the Red Sox as the favorite to sign Napoli. Like Swisher, Napoli has the versatility to play multiple positions, a bonus for the Red Sox.
The latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com...
- The Yankees and Russell Martin are discussing a new contract, though Martin appears to be talking to at least one other team. Talks involving the free agent catcher are “heating up,” according to Heyman. The Yankees made progress with Martin over the weekend, though the sides were apart on dollars several days ago. The Rangers have Martin on their list and other teams, such as the Pirates, Mariners and White Sox, are considering catchers.
- The Yankees are confident they can re-sign Ichiro Suzuki, Heyman reports. The Yankees expect to reach a deal with the free agent outfielder, who has said he hopes to return to New York.
- The Red Sox, Braves and Giants appear to be looking at Nick Swisher, Heyman reports. The market for Swisher seems strong enough for him to obtain a deal of at least four years and executives see the outfielder signing for $12-14MM per season. The Red Sox like Swisher’s versatility since they have openings at first base and in the outfield. Meanwhile, the Braves and Giants are also looking for corner outfield help.
So far this offseason, only one of Tim Dierkes' Top Ten Free Agents has signed a new contract: Hiroki Kuroda (#9) re-upped with the Yankees. That's not at all uncommon at this point of the winter, as most top free agents tend to wait until the Winter Meetings in early-December before deciding on their next baseball home.
The market for outfielders Josh Hamilton (#2), Michael Bourn (#3), B.J. Upton (#5), and Nick Swisher (#6) have been pretty robust so far, ditto Zack Greinke (#1). Anibal Sanchez (#4) has generated some buzz as well, but things have been slow for Edwin Jackson (#7), Dan Haren (#8), and Kyle Lohse (#10). That will change soon enough. One of these guys will soon follow in Kuroda's footsteps and ink a new deal, but who will it be first?
It was on this day in 1977 that Rich "Goose" Gossage signed a six-year, $2.75MM free agent contract with the Yankees. The Goose lived up to that then-exorbitant deal, posting a 2.10 ERA and saving 150 games over those six seasons, notching three top-five finishes in Cy Young Award voting and helping New York win the 1978 World Series. Gossage went into the Hall Of Fame as a Yankee in 2008.
Here's the latest from New York and elsewhere in the AL East...
- DeMarlo Hale is "likely" going to be the Blue Jays' next bench coach, a source tells MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli (Twitter link). Hale served as the Orioles' third base coach in 2012 and was interviewed as a managerial candidate by the Jays two years ago before Toronto hired John Farrell. Hale's contract may be for three years, reports MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko.
- The Red Sox have Nick Swisher "on their radar," a source tells George A. King III of the New York Post. At least seven teams are known to be interested in Swisher, whose ability to switch-hit and play both first base and right field is a boon to many clubs. King hears from an industry source who believes Swisher could find a four-year, $60MM contract, though with that many teams and big markets in the running, it wouldn't surprise me to see that number jump to between $65-$70MM in guaranteed money.
- Other teams were offering Hiroki Kuroda more expensive and longer-term deals with player options than the one-year, $15MM contract he signed with the Yankees, reports Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York. Kuroda took the relatively smaller deal with New York due to his familiarity with the city and his desire to keep his options open next winter for a possible return to Japan. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link) notes that Kuroda has left money on the table for each of the four contracts he's signed in his Major League career.
- The Orioles were interested in Jonny Gomes but are "not too heartbroken" that Gomes has signed with Boston, reports Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. The O's prefer to use the money earmarked for Gomes to re-sign Nate McLouth instead.
- In AL East news from earlier today, Josh Johnson's agent Matt Sosnick discussed the possibility of his client signing an extension with the Blue Jays.
FRIDAY: In addition to the Rangers and Mariners, the Orioles, Phillies, Giants, Braves, and Nationals all have some level of interest in Swisher, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Several clubs are willing to offer three years, and Heyman estimates an annual salary in the $11-13MM range.
THURSDAY: The Rangers, Mariners and three other teams have "serious interest" in free agent Nick Swisher, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). Unsurprisingly, Swisher plans to reject the Yankees' qualifying offer and look for a long-term contract on the open market.
Swisher would have earned $13.3MM for 2013 had he accepted the Yankees' one-year qualifying offer, and in rejecting the deal, New York can now earn a compensatory draft pick if Swisher signs elsewhere. The Yankees extended qualifying offers to three of their free agents: Swisher, Rafael Soriano (who will decline) and Hiroki Kuroda.
Swisher has averaged 27 homers and an .836 OPS over the last seven seasons, thus making him in high demand amongst teams looking for power and help at first base or right field. Swisher was reportedly looking for a Jayson Werth-esque seven-year/$126MM contract, a number that might be hard to find unless it were to come from a team that may need to overpay to attract a top free agent hitter. The Mariners could be such a team, though they hope moving in the fences at Safeco Field will help.
The Rangers would likely use Swisher primarily at first base, though they could also have a hole in left field should Josh Hamilton leave in free agency. (ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Red Sox also value Swisher for his versatility.) Swisher's three unknown suitors probably don't include the Yankees, as there is reportedly little chance of Swisher returning to New York.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.