Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors
The Yankees are still looking for help at both corner infield spots and no shortage of veteran names have been mentioned in connection to the search. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman (via Twitter) wonders if New York would be interested in Pirates first baseman Gaby Sanchez, who "appears to be available." The Yankees have also been scouting Lyle Overbay, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports, and Overbay can opt out of his minor league deal with the Red Sox on Tuesday if he isn't on Boston's Major League roster. As of now, however, Cafardo believes Overbay would "probably" make the Red Sox.
Here's some more news from around baseball as we head into the weekend...
- One candidate the Yankees don't seem to be considering is Scott Rolen, according to Heyman, as the team "never really engaged" the veteran third baseman. Rolen is also "not on the radar" of the Dodgers, who are also looking for infield help in the wake of Hanley Ramirez's injury.
- The Twins "are not even thinking about" manager Ron Gardenhire's job security, a team source tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Minnesota has suffered consecutive last-place seasons but the club doesn't fault Gardenhire given how little he had to work with on the roster. Gardenhire is one of several managers and GMs entering the final years of their contracts in 2013.
- The Angels could re-sign Bill Hall to a new minor league contract, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports. Hall was released earlier today and, if the Angels re-sign him after Tuesday, they won't have to pay the veteran utilityman a $100K bonus as an Article XX(B) free agent.
- Also from DiGiovanna (on Twitter), the Angels watched right-hander Adam Reifer throw a bullpen session today and could sign the former Cardinals prospect to a minor league deal. Reifer, 26, posted a 3.88 ERA, an 8.3 K/9 and a 2.47 K/BB rate over 204 1/3 IP (all out of the bullpen) in the Cards' system since 2008.
- Cubs outfielder David DeJesus stands out as a trade candidate for the Royals as a platoon partner with Jeff Francoeur, Rany Jazayerli of Rany On The Royals opines. Kansas City is known to be looking for a left-handed hitting complement to the right-handed hitting Francoeur in right field.
- The Mets are "going to go with the guys we have" in the outfield, GM Sandy Alderson tells Newsday's Marc Carig. Jordany Valdespin, Lucas Duda, Marlon Byrd, Mike Baxter, Collin Cowgill and Kirk Nieuwenhuis are all fighting for playing time in the Mets' outfield this season.
Some news from around the NL Central...
- The Cubs haven't been in contact with Chone Figgins, ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers reports. Figgins was released by the Marlins earlier this week and, as Rogers notes, is one of the few veteran options available if the Cubs want to bring in a third baseman.
- Ronny Cedeno has cleared waivers after being released by the Cardinals three days ago, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter).
- Chris Cwik of CBSSports.com analyzes the cost of an Adam Wainwright extension with the Cardinals and figures Wainwright will end up being paid between $21-$23.5MM per season. Talks are ongoing between Wainwright and the Cards and the ace right-hander feels positive that an extension will be settled before Opening Day. Wainwright is eligible for free agency after this season.
- Jonathan Sanchez can opt out of his minor league deal with the Pirates on Sunday if he hasn't been added to the club's Major League roster, but the Bucs have until Tuesday to respond, MLB.com's Tom Singer reports. Sanchez's one-year contract will guarantee him $1.375MM if he makes the roster.
- Also from Singer, he opines that the Pirates' trade for John McDonald is the kind of veteran acquisition a team makes when it believes it will contend. Otherwise, Singer wonders why Pittsburgh would add McDonald to an already-deep middle infield mix.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman spoke bluntly about prospective transactions yesterday, as reported by Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. Cashman noted that he is often approached about young starter David Phelps, but continued: "I'm not looking to move him. I'm only looking to move the bad stuff."
- Cashman also addressed the question whether the club's 25-man roster was all in camp, Feinsand reports. The GM indicated that the Yankees are still shopping: "The stuff that's possibly out there that we could add, those decisions aren't in our control. If there are castoffs from other camps that we'll look at and evaluate."
- In searching for "castoffs," one area that New York is likely to target first is the corner infield, as the club is currently "actively seeking" help at first and third according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports echoed that possibility, writing that the Yankees figure to add another corner infielder before Opening Day. Rosenthal reported earlier in the week on Twitter that the Yankees were "asking around about everybody."
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post wonders if the Yankees and Pirates might have the pieces to make a deal. The Bucs could have interest in someone like David Aardsma to support closer Jason Grilli and they have an abundance of corner players. Garrett Jones or Gaby Sanchez could be a fit for the Yanks as they look to weather the storm during Mark Teixeira's stint on the disabled list.
- Unlike his counterpart in New York, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington indicated that "in all likelihood our Opening Day roster is going to be made up of guys who are here now," reported Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Cherington also appeared to downplay any suggestion from manager John Farrell that Boston is actively looking to add rotation depth, saying that, while "it can never be deep enough," he "feel[s] a little better than I did this time last year, in terms of our options, at least early in the season."
- Jackie Bradley Jr.’s defense and the importance of starting the season strong are among the reasons the Red Sox should start the season with Bradley on their roster, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com writes.
Zach Links and Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post.
1:03pm: The teams announced the trade, which sends McDonald to the Pirates for a player to be named or cash considerations.
11:19am: The Pirates acquired infielder John McDonald from the Diamondbacks, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). The Diamondbacks will obtain a player to be named later in the deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Rosenthal reported eight days ago that the Diamondbacks were looking to trade McDonald.
McDonald appeared in 70 games as a shortstop, second baseman and third baseman last year, posting a .249/.295/.386 batting line with six home runs. The 14-year veteran has a reputation as an excellent defender, and UZR suggests that McDonald's play has remained solid in recent years.
McDonald, 38, is now entering the second season of a two-year, $3MM contract. He'll earn $1.5MM in 2013 then become a free agent. He joins a Pirates infield that includes starters Neil Walker, Clint Barmes and Pedro Alvarez. Utility player Josh Harrison backed up up Barmes in 2012 and projects as a bench player again in 2013.
Perhaps no player in the game brings as much focus and preparation to his at-bats as Joey Votto, ESPN's Buster Olney details in this must-read profile of the Reds first baseman (Insider subscription required). "It's all about reframing the challenge," Votto said. "I've
stopped caring about runs and RBIs. I care more about how high a
percentage of productive at-bats I can have, how consistently tough and
competitive I can be for the opposing pitcher. That's my goal every
single time I go up there."
Here's the latest from around the NL Central...
- A swap of Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar for Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras "has not been discussed," one of the involved GMs tells Peter Gammons of the MLB Network (Twitter link). Needless to say, such a deal would be a blockbuster; Profar and Taveras rank first and third, respectively, on Baseball America's preseason ranking of the sport's 100 best prospects. Gammons wonders if Profar-for-Taveras would be on the table "if [Scott] Boras didn't represent [Elvis] Andrus," thus making it uncertain if Andrus would sign an extension to remain in Texas.
- Few teams would benefit from signing Kyle Lohse as much as the Brewers, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel opines. The Brewers have been adamant about going with younger pitchers and not spending big on veteran starters, but Haudricourt wonders if Lohse could be an option given how some of Milwaukee's current rotation members have struggled during Spring Training.
- Mark Rogers, one of those struggling pitchers, is out of options and the Brewers are looking at several different ways to avoid losing him on waivers, Haudricourt writes.
- Jose Tabata needs to produce to remain with the Pirates, as Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette outlines how Tabata is out of options and, if he doesn't make the roster, could be a good trade chip due to his team-friendly contract. Click here for a full list of every player who is out of options this spring.
- From earlier today, the Cardinals released Ronny Cedeno and we heard the Tigers weren't interested in Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol.
Pirates catcher Russell Martin thought he would be returning to the Yankees this offseason, Chad Jennings of the Journal News reports. "I thought I was going to be in pinstripes. I thought I was going to be penciled in there, but shows how much I know," Martin says. "There’s really no hard feelings or anything like that. I see it as a business move, and that’s it, really." After catching for the Yankees in 2011 and 2012, Martin agreed to a two-year deal with Pittsburgh in late November. Here are more notes from around the majors.
- Martin also says the Yankees' current catchers, Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart, are well-equipped to replace him, particularly on defense. "Both those guys can catch," Martin says. "I learned some stuff from Stewart last year just on how quick he is, first of all. Just throwing the ball to second base, and how quick his hands are. His game calling is really good. His receiving’s really good. So defensively, both those guys have got a lot of upside."
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has to figure out what to do with the team's two players from the Rule 5 Draft, pitcher Kyle Lobstein and second baseman Jeff Kobernus, MLB.com's Jason Beck writes. It might be possible for Dombrowski to work out a trade with the Rays to keep Lobstein and send him to the minor leagues, Beck suggests, but swinging a deal with the Nationals to keep Kobernus will be more difficult.
- The Dodgers have signed four international players, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. Three of those players, shortstop Dennis Santana, shortstop Carlos Aquino and left-handed pitcher Cesar Romero, are from the Dominican Republic. The fourth, Dashenko Ricardo, is from Curacao and played catcher for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. Ricardo had previously played in the Orioles and Giants organizations. The Giants released him in January.
The Diamondbacks have returned Rule 5 pick Starlin Peralta to the Cubs, AZCentral.com's Bob McManaman reports. Peralta pitched three innings for the Diamondbacks in spring training, allowing seven runs while walking three batters and striking out none. Peralta, 22, pitched in Class A Peoria in 2012. Here are more notes from the National League.
- Cubs manager Dale Sveum says he's satisfied with his team's position players heading into the season, Carrie Muskat and Owen Perkins of MLB.com report. Sveum hasn't given GM Jed Hoyer a "wish list" of acquisitions, Muskat and Perkins note. The Cubs acquired infielder Luis Valbuena and pitcher Shawn Camp near the end of spring training in 2012, and both played key roles for the team last year.
- The manager of Pirates outfielder Travis Snider's former team says Snider could thrive with his new organization, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. Current Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, who served an earlier stint as the Jays' manager when Snider was among the team's top prospects, compares Snider to Jose Bautista, who became one of baseball's best power hitters after being traded from Pittsburgh to Toronto. "[Bautista] was bouncing around, and it took him a while to get it going. Sometimes what happens is they give up on you too soon," Gibbons says. "But if you're in the perfect spot and they've got time to give you a legitimate shot, that's when guys usually get it going." The Pirates acquired Snider for reliever Brad Lincoln last July.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch details the latest from Major League Baseball Players Association chief Michael Weiner on the union's views on drug testing. Weiner also discussed the qualifying offer system, expressing that he is "pleased that the number of players that carried compensation dropped way down, from in the thirties to nine," while noting that neither the league nor the union "expected that a player the caliber of Kyle Lohse would have the difficulty he's having," an issue which he "would like to find a way out of ... sooner rather than later, before 2016." Elsewhere around the league:
- Brennan Boesch detailed the series of events that led to him joining the Yankees yesterday, as Andy McCullough of The Star-Ledger reports. Boesch was told "earlier this week" that he would be released by the Tigers despite still having multiple minor league options, which the outfielder viewed as "a favor" despite being surprised at the news. When Boesch learned from agent Scott Boras of the Yankees' interest, he instructed Boras to just "get it done" because New York was his top choice.
- The Mets, unlike their New York neighbors, "weren't enthused" about Boesch because they saw him "as another Lucas Duda" and feel comfortable with their in-house options, tweets Jon Heyman. Meanwhile, the club may need to fill in for star third-baseman David Wright to start the season, and Michael Baron of MetsBlog breaks down the internal options.
- Left-handed reliever Franklin Morales is out indefinitely as he deals with a bulging disk in his back, which potentially opens a spot in the Red Sox bullpen for Clayton Mortensen, writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Morales' injury situation also makes it is less likely that Boston will deal Alfredo Aceves, Lauber explains, because "manager John Farrell has identified Aceves [as] the primary long man in the Red Sox' bullpen and their best option to provide a spot start in the event of injuries in the rotation."
- As the Angels look over the market for available backstops, they are joined by the Phillies, Pirates, and Rays in looking for "experienced catching," tweets Peter Gammons of MLB Network.
Despite reports to the contrary, the Giants never discussed nor offered a deal to Melky Cabrera in the range of $75-85MM prior to the outfielder's 50 game suspension for performance enhancing drugs, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Cabrera was expected to be in line for a major pay day up until that point but a softened market led him to take a two-year, $16MM deal with the Blue Jays over the winter. Here's more from around baseball..
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels told reporters, including Ron Matejko of ESPNDallas.com, not to expect any additions between now and Opening Day. "I would expect the 25 will come out of [the Rangers clubhouse]," said Daniels. "I won't 100 percent rule out an outside acquisition, and we do our due diligence and make our calls, things can come about, but you have to be prepared to go in house."
- Tigers manager Jim Leyland says that it is "possible" that rookie Bruce Rondon will open the season as part of a bullpen by committee, writes MLB.com's Jason Beck. The Tigers have reportedly been looking to acquire a proven closer via trade in recent weeks but using Rondon with other relievers already in-house would be a less-costly middle ground.
- The Pirates released former first-round pick Aaron Poreda, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America (on Twitter). Pittsburgh picked up the left-hander in last winter's Rule 5 draft but he made just three Double-A starts for the organization in 2012.
Jack Zduriencik is still the right person to serve as the Mariners' GM, Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times contends. Brewer points to a strong farm system (which includes the likes of Taijuan Walker, Mike Zunino, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton) as evidence that Zduriencik's plan is working. The Mariners have only had one winning season since Zduriencik was hired, however. "I can't say that I'm happy, can't say that I'm satisfied at all," Zduriencik said. "Because, at the end, it's about the finished product at the big-league level and all of these kids becoming what you want them to become." The M's finished 75-87 in 2012. Here are more notes from around the majors.
- The Red Sox clubhouse feels "eleventy-billion times better" than it did in 2012, writes John Tomase of the Boston Herald. The team's decision to replace Bobby Valentine with John Farrell is part of that, Tomase argues, but so is the fact that new additions Ryan Dempster, Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, Joel Hanrahan, David Ross, Jonny Gomes and Stephen Drew weren't around during the Red Sox's ugly 2012 season.
- Napoli will be an impact hitter for the Red Sox in 2013 because he will no longer catch, Michael Silverman argues, also in the Boston Herald. "Now there’s more of a flow to everything," Napoli says. "It’s a tough position — catching and good-hitting catchers are tough to find. It’s just a grind — a grind that I do miss, but I don’t miss." Napoli caught in 72 games for the Rangers last year, but the Red Sox signed him to an incentive-laden one-year deal for 2013 with the plan that he would play first base, where, Silverman writes, he has looked "nimble and sure-handed" this spring.
- The Dodgers "do not appear close" to trading one of their starting pitchers, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Since the Dodgers cannot ship Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano or Ted Lilly to the minors without those players' consent, teams may simply wait for the Dodgers, who don't have roster space for all their starting pitching, to become more desperate. The Orioles, Brewers and Pirates "have expressed interest" in the Dodgers' surplus arms, Shaikin notes, but the Rangers are not a likely trade partner.