Pablo Sandoval Rumors
The latest out of San Francisco..
- One of the Giants’ chief pitching targets, Tim Hudson, is now willing to move across the country to pitch for the right team, sources tell Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Schulman also hears that the Braves offered him a contract with a significantly smaller salary than he earned last year ($9MM), one he is not inclined to accept.
- Schulman also caught up with MLB Network's Peter Gammons in Orlando, who told him the Giants are getting a lot of calls on Pablo Sandoval. It would make sense to listen on Sandoval because he is only signed through 2014 and has an injury history, but both reporters have heard that San Francisco not inclined to trade him because they have no real alternatives at third base. The Giants also can't afford to lose Sandoval's power.
- David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter) hears the Giants are serious about signing a Hudson or Dan Haren type to a one- or two-year deal with a higher average salary than one might expect.
Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com participated in a live chat with fans today and shared a number of Giants-related hot stove items...
- The Giants "went hard after" Jose Dariel Abreu and offered the Cuban slugger a contract that paid him roughly the same average annual value of his six-year, $68MM deal with the White Sox. The catch was that the Giants' offer wasn't six years long as they didn't want to make that long a commitment to a player that is projected by many scouts to be a future designated hitter.
- Ryan Vogelsong's $6.5MM option won't be picked up by the Giants but Baggarly thinks the veteran righty will re-sign on a cheaper one-year deal with incentives.
- There is mutual interest between the Giants and Javier Lopez, and the money saved by declining Vogelsong's option could help the club afford the veteran southpaw.
- The Giants are "probably not" realistic players for Masahiro Tanaka, as Baggarly figures that his posting price will exceed what the Giants are willing to offer, plus big spenders like the Dodgers and Yankees are in the mix. Baggarly reported in August that San Francisco had an interest in the Japanese righty.
- Brandon Belt could be approached about a contract extension in Spring Training but the Giants will just work out a one-year deal in the meantime to cover Belt's first year of arbitration eligibility. MLBTR's Matt Swartz projects Belt to earn $2.4MM in 2014 and MLBTR's Tim Dierkes suggests that Allen Craig's extension could be a model for a Belt extension, though with some adjustments since Belt is a Super Two player.
- The Giants are looking only for "reliable innings guys" in their rotation so the likes of Roy Halladay, Tim Hudson and Josh Johnson will only draw the club's interest if they're healthy.
- Though the Giants are looking for a right-handed power bat and might trade prospects to get one, the club is unlikely to move the likes of Kyle Crick, Edwin Escobar or Adalberto Mejia.
- When it comes to left field, the Giants may prioritize defense. Baggarly expects San Francisco to look for a left fielder in a trade rather than free agency.
- Baggarly hasn't heard Scott Kazmir's name mentioned as a possibility in San Francisco.
- Mark Trumbo "has his admirers in the [Giants] front office." While the Angels are known to be willing to move Trumbo for young pitching talent, I'm not sure the Giants are a good trade partner given that they're looking for arms themselves.
- Given Marco Scutaro's age, Brandon Phillips "makes a lot of sense" for the Giants. Baggarly makes it clear that he's only speculating, however. Phillips is rumored to be on the shopping block but Reds GM Walt Jocketty recently denied that he's talked about Phillips with other teams.
- The Giants are very unlikely to surrender their first round (14th overall) draft pick to sign a free agent who has rejected a qualifying offer. This could have a major impact on the chances of the team pursuing Bronson Arroyo, who could be extended a qualifying offer by the Reds. Baggarly feels that Arroyo and Dan Haren are the free agent pitchers who are most likely to be San Francisco targets.
- Recent Pablo Sandoval trade rumors are "total scuttlebutt," in Baggarly's opinion.
The Giants officially announced their extension with Tim Lincecum today and it was the club's early willingness to get a deal done that helped convince the two-time Cy Young Award winner to stay. “When they made the push it was hard for me not to respond,” Lincecum said during a conference call with reporters (including The San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman). “The relationship kept pushing until it found us sitting here at two years, $35 million, and I’m really, really, really happy about that.” The righty also noted that his struggles over the last two seasons served as some motivation to remain in San Francisco, as "that’s not the way you want to go out."
Here are some more items from AT&T Park...
- Lincecum said that he would consider returning to play for his hometown Mariners near the end of his career but "wasn’t ready for that kind of jump" at this point.
- Giants president Larry Baer denied that Lincecum was only re-signed for his marketability and popularity with San Francisco fans. "Everybody on the baseball side who was evaluating it said this was the right thing for the Giants to keep the rotation strong and keep the team’s chances of winning strong, with all he’s capable of doing and all he’s done over the years," Baer said.
- Even after re-signing Lincecum and Hunter Pence, assistant GM Bobby Evans said the Giants still have enough "flexibility" to look at "outside options to solidify the rotation." Evans did say it would be "problematic" for the club to pursue qualifying offer-rejecting free agents since the Giants have an unprotected first-round draft pick.
- Evans wasn't sure if the team would also be able to re-sign southpaw Javier Lopez before he tests the free agent market (hat tip to CSNBayArea.com's Andrew Baggarly). Lopez is coming off the best season of his 11-year career, having posted a 1.83 ERA, 8.5 K/9 and 3.08 K:BB rate in 39 1/3 IP in 2013.
- "The industry is going nuts" over the Lincecum extension, ESPN's Buster Olney writes (Insider subscription required) but the deal is "such an outlier" that Olney doesn't think it will heavily impact the rest of the free agent pitching market.
- It's no surprise that Pablo Sandoval's name that been floated in trade rumors, MLB.com's Chris Haft writes. Sandoval will hit free agency after the 2014 season and the Giants have questions about the Panda's consistency at the plate and his physical conditioning. Haft opines that Sandoval would draw a lot of attention on the trade market and he could be dealt for starting pitching or perhaps a second baseman (as Marco Scutaro would take over at third base).
The Marlins will be paying Ozzie Guillen $2.5MM this season not to manage the team, according to D.J. Short of NBCSports.com (via Twitter). The financial figure is higher than all but the salaries of two players on the squad. Here's the latest news and stories making headlines from around the Major Leagues.
- Astros owner Jim Crane spoke in front of his ever-evolving ballclub on Saturday to share his vision for the future for the franchise and his plans on how to get there, writes Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. "Certainly our fingerprints are all over this now and all the changes we made are our changes," Crane said. "Bo [Porter] told them this and I told them this: Neither one of us have lost in anything we've done, and we're not going to start now. We're expecting to turn this into a winner, starting today."
- Justin Upton and B.J. Upton are already over the initial joyous feelings that come with playing side-by-side with one's brother at the Major League level and focused on spoiling Davey Johnson's swan song, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com. While the Nationals may have a more complete roster on paper than the Braves, each one of the Braves' starting outfielders, including Jason Heyward, poses a legitimate threat to compete for NL MVP.
- Pablo Sandoval's inability to keep his weight at an optimal level continues to be an ongoing issue for the hefty third baseman, says Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. The veteran met with Giants manager Bruce Bochy in a closed-door meeting to discuss how being in baseball shape (Sandoval played winter ball) is not the same as playing at a healthy weight. "Like all the guys, we’ve got to get ourselves in game condition," Bochy said. "Even though he’s been playing games, it’s fair to say he has to shed a few pounds, and he will. He has the time. He’s up there working as we speak."
No MLB team finalized more extensions this offseason than the Giants, who locked up five of their top players. General manager Brian Sabean committed more than $200MM in future salaries in the four-month period from the beginning of January to the beginning of April. The extensions promised to solidify the team’s rotation long-term and cap the future earnings of a pair of arbitration eligible All-Stars.
For the most part, the extensions have worked for the team. Tim Lincecum's disappointing season is the largest blemish on an otherwise encouraging set of contracts for San Francisco.
Lincecum, whose early-career accomplishments assured him of a substantial raise, signed a two-year, $40.5MM contract extension to cover his final two arbitration years. Though he has pitched better lately, his ERA sits at 5.30 in what has been the most disappointing season of his MLB career. It’d be understandable if the Giants are relieved Lincecum didn’t accept their $100MM extension offer before the season. In that context, $40.5MM isn’t so expensive. Still, if the team had gone year to year with Lincecum, he wouldn’t have been locked in for a $22MM salary in 2013; a non-tender would have been possible.
Three other Giants starters have exceeded expectations since signing multiyear deals. Vogelsong, who signed a two-year, $8.3MM contract in January, is repeating last year's success. He has a 2.85 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 on his way toward a career high in innings pitched. Vogelsong would have been a free agent after the 2012 season if the Giants hadn't locked him up. They'll surely be glad to have him back for just $5MM in 2013 (the extension also includes a 2014 club option).
Like Vogelsong, Madison Bumgarner has replicated his 2011 success. The 23-year-old left-hander has inserted himself into the NL Cy Young Award race by posting a 2.83 ERA with five times as many strikeouts as walks in 171 2/3 innings this year. He obtained a record deal for pitchers with one-plus years of MLB service (five-years, $35MM), so it’s not as though Bumgarner obtained anything less than full value back in April. But this deal could hardly be going better for the Giants.
Matt Cain also obtained a record-setting contract this spring. He obtained a five-year, $112.5MM contract that established a record for right-handed pitchers. He's earning Cy Young Award consideration again after pitching a perfect game and posting a 2.83 ERA in 174 2/3 innings. If Cain had reached the free agent market this offseason, he would be the most sought-after pitcher available. The Giants could have re-signed him, of course, but not without spending considerably more than they did in April.
Lastly, Pablo Sandoval's play has justified his new three-year, $17.15MM contract -- at least when he's been on the field. Although he spent time on the disabled list with a strained hamstring and a fractured hamate bone, he does have an .821 OPS in 294 plate appearances. This extension had limited upside for the Giants in the first place, since it didn’t buy out any free agent years or include any club options.
For now the Giants are presumably focused on maintaining their division lead over the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. A few months from now, once the most chaotic part of the offseason has ended, Sabean and the rest of the San Francisco front office will encounter a familiar challenge: it'll be time to consider extensions for a new set of players led by All-Star catcher Buster Posey.
Photo courtesy of US Presswire.
A few items of note from MLB's West divisions ...
- Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval was questioned by police and faces possible sexual assault charges following an incident at a beach resort in Santa Cruz County, Calif., a source tells Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. No assumptions should be made about the incident, writes Ray Ratto of CSNBayArea.com, but the Giants are growing frustrated with Sandoval's questionable work ethic and are unsure whether he'll be part of their "core in years to come."
- The Padres make for an interesting study in the dilemma that small- and mid-market teams face when locking up young players to long-term contracts, writes Chris Jenkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune. While extensions for Cameron Maybin, Cory Luebke and Nick Hundley were generally well received by fans and pundits, those players have struggled with slumps and/or injuries so far this season.
- Mike Trout is the best prospect the Angels have produced in the team's 51-year history, opines Chris Dufresne of the Los Angeles Times. Many Halos -- including Frank Tanana, Devon White, Tim Salmon, Garret Anderson and Troy Glaus -- enjoyed excellent big league careers, but none were as good at such a young age as Trout is, Dufresne writes.
On this date last year, Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano no-hit the White Sox. Here are some links for Thursday afternoon, starting with a note on Jered Weaver, who no-hit Liriano's Twins last night...
- Weaver pitched a no-hitter for his hometown team in front of his fans and family last night and as Scott Miller of CBSSports.com writes, it's for days like yesterday that the right-hander signed a long-term deal with the Angels. Weaver signed a five-year, $85MM contract last summer instead of testing the open market, where he likely would have obtained a larger guarantee. So far this deal seems to be working well for both sides.
- Outfielder Erik Komatsu expects to learn if he has a new team by tomorrow, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The Cardinals designated the Rule 5 pick for assignment earlier in the week and other MLB teams now have the chance to claim him off of waivers.
- Pablo Sandoval is expected to miss four to six weeks with a fractured hamate bone, as Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle first reported (on Twitter). The Giants are calling up Conor Gillaspie for now, and it appears they'll rely on their internal options while Sandoval's out.
The Giants and Pablo Sandoval have agreed to a three-year extension, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. The deal is worth $17.15MM plus incentives, Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News tweets. Morgan Advisory Group represents the 25-year-old third baseman.
Sandoval, who was arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason, had a projected $3.2MM salary for 2012 and would have been in line for raises in 2013 and 2014 via the arbitration process. The deal doesn't delay his free agency -- he's still on track to hit the open market after the 2014 season.
Sandoval has had two tremendous offensive seasons and one forgettable one since becoming a full-time player in 2009. He posted a .315/.357/.552 line with 23 home runs for the Giants in 2011 and owns a .307/.356/.501 line with 64 home runs in his career. The Venezuela native is easily recognizable because of his stocky physique (he's listed as 5'11" and 240 lbs) and colorful nickname: the Kung Fu Panda.
Photo courtesy Icon SMI.
- Ryan Morgan, Pablo Sandoval's agent, told Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News that he has had "very broad discussions" with Giants VP Bobby Evans about Sandoval's 2012 contract and that Sandoval is open to a multiyear contract. Sandoval is going through the arbitration process for the first time this winter and Baggarly thinks the two sides could revisit the idea of an extension if Sandoval shows up in great shape to Spring Training.
- Mark Cuban is interested in bidding to become the new Dodgers' owner, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Cuban will receive a "bid book" that contains the team's financial information, though having a bid book doesn't necessarily mean Cuban will indeed make a bid to buy the team.
- The Dodgers have already much of their free money this winter and are still short two starting pitchers, reports Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times. Both Dilbeck and Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (Twitter link) don't think the Dodgers will have enough to re-sign Hiroki Kuroda.
- Also from Knobler (via Twitter), the Rockies turned down the Braves' offer of Martin Prado in exchange for outfielder Seth Smith and prospect Nolan Arenado. Given that Arenado is one of Colorado's top prospects, this was a total pie-in-the-sky offer from the Braves.
- Newly-signed Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez appeared on the Venezuelan sports radio show Los Cronistas today (Twitter link, in Spanish) and said he isn't sure if he'll be physically able to keep playing beyond his current contract. Hernandez will be 37 by the time his two-year deal with Colorado expires. Thanks to Nick Collias of our sister site Rumores de Beisbol for the translation.
- Justin Upton holds the top spot on Keith Law's list of the top 50 players who are 25 years old and under (ESPN Insider subscription required).
Pablo Sandoval has catching experience, but the Giants won’t attempt to re-position him behind the plate when he returns from the disabled list, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. Here’s Heyman’s latest from around the league:
- Mets minority owner David Einhorn is expected to have a say in major team decisions, though he won’t have the final call. If the Wilpons have to sell the team, Einhorn will have the first opportunity to buy it.
- The Dodgers have not explored possible trades for Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp and rival teams haven’t called to express interest in the outfielders, according to Heyman. The Dodgers would like to lock both up long-term instead of allowing them to hit the open market after next year.
- One Dodger who won’t be getting a long-term contract offer: James Loney. The first baseman is a likely non-tender after the season, according to executives around the league.
- The Rangers are looking for a reliever and would prefer a right-hander. Heyman hears they’ll consider Francisco Rodriguez of the Mets.
- The Cubs don’t plan to exercise Aramis Ramirez’s $16MM option for 2012, according to Heyman.