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The latest from the AL and NL East..
- The Red Sox have made an offer to Justin Masterson, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). The pitcher is also talking with the Rangers, Marlins, White Sox, Royals, Giants, Twins, and others. Earlier today we learned that the Rangers have made an offer to Masterson, their first concrete bid for a free agent starter this winter.
- If the Orioles look to the trade market for a bat, Phillies outfielder Marlon Byrd is a name on their radar, sources tell Jayson Stark of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington told reporters, including Jason Mastrodonato of The Springfield Republican (via Twitter) that the team has targeted 15-20 starting pitchers via free agency and trade. So far, they’ve had advanced conversations for a few of them.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro says reports of him asking for too much in trades are “a bunch of malarkey,” according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer (on Twitter).
Here are the latest pieces of information on the trade front from the morning’s action at the Winter Meetings:
- The Rockies approached the Mets today to gauge interest in discussing star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports on Twitter. Martino’s sources tell him a deal that would send Tulowitzki to the Mets is “not happening.” On the other hand, Colorado’s actions obviously suggest that there is at least some possibility that the club would consider dealing him.
- The Phillies would not demand that the Red Sox include top catching prospect Blake Swihart in a deal involving Cole Hamels, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reports on Twitter.
- Were the Red Sox to make a push for Jeff Samardzija, however, the Athletics would insist on the inclusion of shortstop prospect Deven Marrero, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets.
- Nick Swisher of the Indians is available in trade, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, but there has been minimal interest to date.
- The Mariners could “circle back” to the Braves regarding Justin Upton if the team does not land free agent Melky Cabrera, tweets David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But Seattle is highly unlikely to sacrifice one of its prized young arms in a deal for Upton, he adds.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Andrew Cashner | Atlanta Braves | Boston Red Sox | Cleveland Indians | Cole Hamels | Colorado Rockies | Jeff Samardzija | Justin Upton | New York Mets | Newsstand | Nick Swisher | Oakland Athletics | Philadelphia Phillies | San Diego Padres | Seattle Mariners | Troy Tulowitzki | Tyson Ross
Here’s the latest from the National League side of the ledger:
- The Nationals will sit down with Jordan Zimmermann‘s representatives at the Winter Meetings, Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports. Matt Cain‘s extension with the Giants (six years, $127.5MM) may be the best comp for Zimmermann and the Nats as they look ahead at renewed contract talks, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney notes on Twitter. Of course, that deal is now a few years old, so it may require a bump up to account for inflation.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. faces a difficult task given how little leverage he brings with him to San Diego, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Other clubs may be looking to take advantage of the perception that Philadelphia needs to make a move to start its rebuilding process, Gelb explains.
- The Braves are still waiting to find the right deal for outfielder Justin Upton, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that the club is hoping to add a second baseman and/or starting pitcher if it deals him. Among the teams with interest are the Royals, Rangers, Padres, and Indians, per Sherman.
- The Brewers are open to the possibility of dealing outfielder Gerardo Parra, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Per Rosenthal, Parra — who is projected to earn $6.4MM through arbitration (via MLBTR/Matt Swartz) — could make sense for teams that fail to land Melky Cabrera.
If the Mets wanted a creative way to free up payroll space for more lineup improvements, they could explore trading Curtis Granderson, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News opines. While Granderson only hit .227/.326/.388 in 654 PA last season, he still slugged 20 homers and Martino argues that the outfielder could draw interest in a market short on impact hitters. While it could well be that Granderson’s bat would perk up in a more hitter-friendly ballpark than Citi Field, I’d think that it’d be a tough sell to find significant trade interest in player who turns 34 in March, is owed $47MM through the 2017 season and has shown signs of decline over the last couple of years.
Here’s some news from around the NL East…
- Braves president of baseball operations John Hart spoke in broad terms about his team’s Winter Meetings plans with David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Braves are looking to make moves to help in both the short- and long-term, particularly aimed towards the opening of their new ballpark in 2017. “I wouldn’t be telling you the truth if I said we’re not taking a look at ’17,” Hart said. “But we haven’t made a move yet that would give anybody any reason to think that we’re even considering doing a strip-down…If you weren’t convinced before [Nick Markakis signed], we’re certainly paying attention to ’15 and ’16 as well as keeping an eye on ’17.”
- With so many rumors circling around the Braves, O’Brien (Twitter link) would be “surprised” if the team didn’t make at least one deal during the Winter Meetings.
- The only notable hole on the Nationals‘ roster is at second base and that spot is more likely to be filled via trade than free agency, Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider writes. This doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a quiet Winter Meetings for the Nats, however, as trade rumors have swirled around some of the top players, several of whom are entering their last season of team control.
- Though it’s been an uneventful offseason for the Phillies thus far, GM Ruben Amaro tells Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News that he has had several productive discussions about possible moves. “I’m actually probably optimistic about what’s been going on, dialogue-wise, some of the things we’ve discussed externally and internally,” Amaro said. “It’s been a very, very active communication market so far….It’s fortunate we’ve stayed out of the rumor mill, because I prefer to do things quietly. And it doesn’t do anybody any good when it’s out there. I like when it’s quiet. I like the dialogue we’ve had in the last several weeks.”
With the Winter Meetings beginning in San Diego, this could be the week the Dodgers finally deal from their glut of outfielders, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers would prefer to hang onto Matt Kemp, according to Shaikin, but Major League players are not being offered for either Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford.
Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports the Mariners were close to a deal for Kemp with Seattle paying roughly half of the $107 million remaining on his salary over the next five years, but things fell apart when the Dodgers insisted on the inclusion of either Taijuan Walker or James Paxton. In a second article, Dutton lists the Padres and the Orioles as the Mariners’ primary competition for Kemp, with Shaikin adding the Giants are a possibility, if they fail to sign Chase Headley. With Nelson Cruz now in Seattle, Dutton opines the Mariners’ interest in Kemp will depend on what other offers the Dodgers receive. Those other offers may not be to the Dodgers’ liking, as Shaikin notes the Braves (Justin Upton and Evan Gattis), Red Sox (Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig), and Phillies (Marlon Byrd) also have right-handed power bats available to trade.
Elsewhere in baseball’s West divisions:
- Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman says the constant rumors that come with running a major market team are “comical,” but he doesn’t necessarily mind it, writes Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “Misinformation can be a powerful tool,” Friedman said.
- The Mariners are reluctant to part with their young pitching to acquire an outfield bat, according to Dutton. “That’s a little bit of a dangerous road,” said GM Jack Zduriencik. “You look at our pitching staff, and when you analyze it, a couple of those young starters didn’t pitch a lot of innings last year.“
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets the Mariners are very serious about their pursuit of Melky Cabrera. Last week, it was reported the M’s are believed to be willing to offer something similar to the four-year, $57MM deal that they used to sign Cruz.
- In a separate tweet, Rosenthal posits the Angels are reluctant to trade second baseman Howie Kendrick because of offensive concerns including uncertainity about Josh Hamilton, an unsettled DH situation, and no clear backup catcher.
- Sources tell ESPN’s Buster Olney (via Twitter) the Giants and Reds are great fits for Justin Upton, but neither match up well with the Braves and may need to involve a third team to swing a deal.
- Olney also tweets the Astros continue to pursue closer David Robertson and his most lucrative offer might come from Houston.
- Rockies GM Jeff Bridich tells Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post there has been interest in catcher Wilin Rosario, but Colorado “could very easily go into the season with Wilin.“
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Allen Craig | Andre Ethier | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Carl Crawford | Chase Headley | Cincinnati Reds | Colorado Rockies | David Robertson | Evan Gattis | Houston Astros | Howie Kendrick | Jack Zduriencik | James Paxton | Josh Hamilton | Justin Upton | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Marlon Byrd | Matt Kemp | Melky Cabrera | Nelson Cruz | Philadelphia Phillies | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Seattle Mariners | Taijuan Walker | Wilin Rosario | Yoenis Cespedes
Braves exec John Coppolella, who is effectively the team’s GM-in-training, tells Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com that he’s learning a ton from John Hart. “It comes down to who John is as a person and an executive,” Coppolella said in an e-mail. “He’s a family man who, by nature, is energetic and engaging. He’s not only willing to empower others, but he’s extremely loyal to his people. However, don’t let the fun and loyalty confuse anything — he’s highly intelligent, has almost unparalleled experience and is extremely adept at reading situations and people.” More from the NL East..
- The Mets likely made their big move of the offseason when they signed veteran outfielder Michael Cuddyer to a two-year deal in November, but there should still be more tweaks on the way, as Matt Ehalt of The Record writes.
- The Phillies have had a quiet offseason so far, but things could ramp up at the Winter Meetings, as Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com writes. The market for Cole Hamels could become clearer once Jon Lester lands somewhere, though it’s still a toss-up as to whether he’ll get moved this winter.
- The Braves need to add at least one more Major League-ready starting pitcher and assess their outfield needs, which will be influenced by any decision involving Justin Upton and Evan Gattis, writes Mark Bowman of MLB.com. All in all, Atlanta could be quite busy at the Winter Meetings.
David Ortiz plans to give some guidance to Hanley Ramirez as he begins his next chapter with the Red Sox, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. “He looks at me as one of his older brothers,” Ortiz said. “I’m going to try to encourage him to do the right thing as long we keep on playing [together] and probably beyond that because I don’t have the time that he has left. I’m going to, like we normally say, take him under my wing and show him whatever I can help him with and make sure he’s really successful in Boston.” More from the AL East..
- Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News wonders if the Yankees are really out on a big money pitcher. They’d like to retain Brandon McCarthy and could go after someone like Justin Masterson, but some in the industry feel that they’ll ultimately wind up in the mix for a starter like Max Scherzer.
- Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald also hears that the Red Sox will begin to explore Scherzer more aggressively if they lose out on Jon Lester. Besides the Red Sox, the teams who are expected to take a long, serious look at the right-hander are the Yankees, Dodgers, Nationals, Tigers, Phillies, Cardinals, Cubs, White Sox, Giants, and Blue Jays, industry insiders tell Silverman.
- Signing Lester is important, but the Red Sox need to put an even greater focus on developing the next Lester, opines Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.
- George A. King III of the New York Post runs down the Yankees‘ three biggest needs heading into the meetings.
- The Red Sox have lots on their agenda this week, writes Tim Britton of The Providence Journal.
Only three free agents make Jayson Stark’s list of the top 10 players to watch during the Winter Meetings, reflecting the feeling from several baseball executives that the trade front could be much busier than the free agency front in the coming days. Jon Lester is the key domino in the process, as in the words of one NL executive, “he sets the free-agent market and kick-starts the trade market. Depending on when he signs, he could create the greatest Winter Meetings in decades or the most boring.” Here’s some more from ESPN’s Stark…
- “The most widespread front-office conspiracy theory” sees the Nationals trading Jordan Zimmermann and then signing Max Scherzer. This scenario is “so obvious it makes me question if it’s real,” one GM said. Clearly a lot of factors would have to fall into place for the Nats to pull this off, though they’re known to be listening to offers for Zimmermann, who will be a free agent after the 2015 season. Scott Boras, Scherzer’s agent, is known for waiting until deep into the offseason to find a preferred deal for his clients, which could give Washington more time to line up a Zimmermann trade.
- Beyond Zimmermann, the Nationals are also listening to offers for Ian Desmond, Doug Fister, Denard Span and Tyler Clippard. All of these players can hit free agency after 2015, making Washington the “team with the potential to make the biggest deal of the offseason. And maybe not just one,” Stark writes.
- The Tigers are “listening intently” to offers for David Price and Rick Porcello, though they’ll only deal one of the two, and Detroit would only move Price if they can re-sign Scherzer. “The Tigers have made it clear they aren’t subtracting any starting pitchers unless they have a replacement lined up,” Stark writes. I’d note that the newly-acquired Shane Greene could be such a potential replacement for Porcello, who Stark says is the more likely to be traded than Price.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro has told teams interested in Cole Hamels to make an offer if they wish, but the Phils are waiting to see where the big free agent arms go before they seriously start exploring a Hamels trade. Several teams have said the Phillies’ asking price for Hamels is far too high, and one rival official tells Stark that the pitching market is too deep for the Phillies to expect both top prospects and Hamels’ entire contract to be absorbed in a deal.
- Jeff Samardzija is likelier to be dealt before Hamels, one executive predicts, since the Athletics are more aggressively shopping their right-hander. We’ve already heard that the White Sox, to name one team, have discussed a Samardzija trade with the A’s. One exec warns that the A’s could have trouble finding their desired return for Samardzija, since “it’s just hard to give up a lot of value for a one-year pitcher.”
- The Red Sox are open to trading any position player except for Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Rusney Castillo and Christian Vazquez, Stark writes. It also goes without saying that David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia won’t be dealt, not to mention the newly-signed Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Boston Red Sox | Christian Vazquez | Cole Hamels | David Price | Denard Span | Detroit Tigers | Doug Fister | Ian Desmond | Jeff Samardzija | Jon Lester | Jordan Zimmermann | Max Scherzer | Mookie Betts | Newsstand | Oakland Athletics | Philadelphia Phillies | Rick Porcello | Rusney Castillo | Tyler Clippard | Washington Nationals | Xander Bogaerts
It’s unclear who is steering the ship for the Phillies, writes Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer. There is speculation that team president Dave Montgomery may have been ousted. The Phillies partially denied the report, saying “no determination [has been] made.” Others suggest a decision could be reached in January. Montgomery is currently recovering from jaw cancer surgery. Hall of Fame executive Pat Gillick is the interim president.
- On a related topic, Phillies minority owner John Middleton may be interested in acquiring a majority share of the club. Middleton currently has a 48 percent stake in the team. From my vantage, the Phillies should try to get ahead of these stories which have plagued them all offseason. Uncertainty over future stakeholders can only hurt the club’s position with free agents and in the trade market.
- Recently non-tendered Braves starter Brandon Beachy is drawing interest from 10 teams, tweets Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. The Braves are among the interested clubs, but aren’t the most aggressive. He’s expected to land a major league deal and has multiple offers on the table. Beachy is currently rehabbing from his second Tommy John surgery. An aggressive rehab schedule could have Beachy back on the mound in the early part of the season, but the average recovery time would indicate a mid-to-late season return.
- Extension candidates top the list of Winter Meeting activities for the Marlins, writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Jose Fernandez, Christian Yelich, Adeiny Hechavarria, and Marcell Ozuna are among those with open discussions. Other topics of interest include the club’s interest in Jake Peavy and potential willingness to trade Garrett Jones.
- Derek Jeter‘s recent visit with the Marlins could signal his interest in purchasing the team, suggests Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. He has long talked about his plans to purchase a club, and he has some ties to Florida. It’s unclear if current owner Jeffrey Loria is willing to sell. Jeter doesn’t possess the wealth necessary to buy a majority stake in a major league franchise, but he could headline a consortium.
In the midst of a run of arbitration information, there were a few interesting reports on some trade situations percolating around the game. Let’s have a look …
- The Phillies are conducting “intensive homework” on the Dodgers‘ minor league system in anticipation of trying to work out a deal involving Cole Hamels, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports on Twitter. The trade market for Hamels still seems to be in a holding pattern, along with much of the rest of the non-Jon Lester pitching market.
- Dexter Fowler‘s name has come up in trade talks between the Blue Jays and Astros, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports (Twitter link). Fowler, who projects to earn $9MM through arbitration (via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz) in his final year of team control, would be an interesting potential add for Toronto. The 28-year-old switch-hitter is capable of playing center but could also line up in the corner. He has been a consistently solid performer at the plate, though defensive metrics have wavered on his value in the field.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty says that his club has not discussed Yoenis Cespedes with the Red Sox, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports via Twitter. There has been some speculation recently about a possible match, fueled in part by a recent spate of rumors, but it appears that nothing is in the works in that respect.
- There has not been much of any action surrounding Daniel Murphy of the Mets, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The second baseman may have a “greater perceived value” to his current club, and their fans, than to outside entities, Sherman suggests. New York may prefer to try other means of opening payroll flexibility now, holding onto Murphy and reassessing at the trade deadline.