Placido Polanco Rumors
5:13pm: GM Dave Dombrowski told Beck that he would be "very surprised" if Rodney or Lyon accepts arbitration.
1:16pm: The Tigers offered arbitration to Type B free agent relievers Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon, but not Type A second baseman Placido Polanco, writes MLB.com's Jason Beck. These decisions fit with our predictions from yesterday.
The Tigers most likely want to go in a cheaper direction at second base, and Polanco benefits because his new team will not have to surrender a draft pick. I am guessing they do not expect Rodney or Lyon to accept the arbitration offers, but wouldn't mind if either one does.
Links for Saturday...
- Bob Ryan of The Boston Globe thinks the Red Sox made a big mistake by letting Alex Gonzalez go to Toronto. I can't say I'd be too upset if my team let a guy with a 78 career OPS+ go, no matter how good his defense was.
- ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes writes that even if the Red Sox eat a big chunk of Mike Lowell's contract, they'll still have trouble trading him because of all the third base options on the free agent market.
- Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times wrote about all of the flexibility Mariners' GM Jack Zduriencik has going into the winter meetings.
- Meanwhile, Larry Stone at The Seattle Times wouldn't be surprised to see Kevin Towers end up with the Mariners because of his relationship with Zduriencik.
- Lynn Henning of The Detroit News guesses that the Tigers will offer arbitration to Placido Polanco, Fernando Rodney, and Brandon Lyon before Tuesday's midnight deadline. Polanco is a Type-A free agent, Rodney and Lyon are both Type-B's.
- The sale is complete and the Ricketts family has assumed control of the Cubs, according to David Roeder of The Chicago Sun Times.
- The deadline for the sale of another team, the Rangers, passed more than a week ago, but owner Tom Hicks hasn't indicated what happened, or how many groups actually made a pitch, according to Barry Shlachter of The Star Telegram.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along the news that Jose Contreras has one less suitor in Japan. Meanwhile, Ryo Shinkawa writes that Hiroshima is looking into signing Giancarlo Alvarado, who pitched with the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate last season, posting a 3.49 ERA.
- The best bet for the Red Sox to fill their need at shortstop might be to make a trade, says Tyler Hissey of MVN.com. Hissey suggests that Reid Brignac, Stephen Drew, and Yunel Escobar could be had via trade, but would cost the BoSox a pretty penny.
- Steve Melewski of MASN Sports says that the Orioles can find their next closer in-house. Recently, we learned that the O's are one of eight teams interested in free agent Billy Wagner.
Scott Lauber of The News Journal spoke to Philadelphia Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. today about some of the team's offseason plans. Here are a few of the highlights from Lauber's article:
- The Phillies' offseason wishlist: a third baseman, bullpen help, bench depth, and starting pitching depth.
- The team expects to have about $120MM committed in salaries and $20MM to spend to fill their needs.
- Amaro Jr. doesn't comment on specific free agents he's interested in, but Lauber suggests Mark DeRosa and Placido Polanco are still the club's top targets.
- The "greatest challenge" Amaro Jr. will face in attempting to sign free agents could be persuading players to assume lesser roles. That could mean convincing a closer such as Fernando Rodney to assume a setup role, or asking someone like Juan Uribe to come off the bench.
- Amaro Jr. expects relievers Chan Ho Park and Scott Eyre to test the free agent market. Eyre has said he'll only pitch for the Phillies, but the Phillies GM is skeptical about whether that's really true.
ESPN.com's Jayson Stark responds to some of Scott Boras' recent comments before providing some rumors in his latest Rumblings and Grumblings column:
- The Rays, Rangers and Jays appear to be the three likeliest landing spots for Milton Bradley. The Cubs say they don't want to eat much of the $21MM remaining on Bradley's contract, so a bad contract swap still seems possible.
- Stark hears that the Marlins were in serious trade talks with the Giants and Rangers about Dan Uggla.
- There's no indication that the Yankees are in on Jason Bay or Matt Holliday at this point. The Yanks figure to negotiate firmly with Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui.
- The Braves would like to trade for a cleanup-hitter and are expected to try to extend Javier Vazquez if they can move Derek Lowe and his contract.
- The Phillies don't appear to have a preference at third base, though they're said to be considering Placido Polanco, Mark DeRosa and Adrian Beltre.
- At least two executives believe Pedro Martinez fits best as a half-year starter next season.
MLB.com's Todd Zolecki runs down the Phillies offseason, looking at how the club is planning to improve coming off back-to-back World Series appearances. Here's some highlights:
- The Phillies are looking to upgrade at third base, as we've heard before. Chone Figgins figures to be too expensive for their liking, and they'll look for a shorter, more affordable contract. Zolecki names the same possibilities we heard earlier in the week: Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa, and Placido Polanco.
- Philadelphia has interest in Fernando Rodney, but it may not be mutual, as Rodney likely would prefer a team with whom he can close. As Zolecki writes, that is "not an option" in Philly.
- The Phillies have seven impending free agents: Paul Bako, Miguel Cairo, Scott Eyre, Pedro Feliz, Pedro Martinez, Chan Ho Park, Matt Stairs, and Jack Taschner. Zolecki says Park and Eyre are the two most likely to return, with Ruben Amaro Jr. already having contacted Park's agent.
- Bako's return hasn't been ruled out, but Amaro has said that he's seeking a backup catcher. Feliz is in a similar situation, with his return not being ruled out but the team looking to upgrade.
- If Stairs returns, it will be on a minor league contract. Taschner and Martinez are not expected to return.
- The futures for Eric Bruntlett, Clay Condrey, and Tyler Walker are in question.
Steve Kornacki of MLive.com has plenty of material from Tigers' GM Dave Dombrowski for us this morning, but it's all spread out among several articles. We're here to make things easy for you, so let's round 'em up...
- Dombrowski indicated that no player on his team is untouchable, but "there are some on our club that we want to hold on to." He also added that there was more trade talk at the GM meetings this year than in previous years.
- The team obviously wants to keep Justin Verlander around for a long time, but Dombrowski wouldn't comment about the possibility of locking him up to a long-term deal. "I won't get into that because that is best kept internal," he said. Verlander can become a free agent after the 2011 season.
- Dombrowksi acknowledged that the team is "looking to be fiscally responsible," citing economic changes in the community.
- The Tigers called both Jarrod Washburn and Aubrey Huff this week to let them to know the team won't be pursuing them. We first heard the team won't attempt the re-sign the two a little over a week ago.
- MLB.com's Jason Beck reports that the team has had contact with the agents for Fernando Rodney, Brandon Lyon, Placido Polanco, and Adam Everett, but the talks were believed to be just preliminary.
A few Thursday evening links to browse through....
- MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports that the Houston Astros will decrease their spending in 2010, after the team's payroll exceeded $100MM the first time in 2009.
- Filing for free agency may have just been a formality for Jason Schmidt, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. The 36-year-old righty looks headed for retirement.
- Dick Kaegel of MLB.com hasn't heard anything that substantiates rumors of an Alberto Callaspo-A.J. Ellis swap between the Royals and Dodgers.
- Evan Brunell of The Hardball Times is "horrified" that the Phillies are considering Placido Polanco for their third base opening.
- Jenifer Langosch at MLB.com fields Pirates-related questions from readers. Most of them react to Pittsburgh's recent acquisition of Akinori Iwamura.
The Phillies have Placido Polanco, Mark DeRosa, and Adrian Beltre on their third base wish list, according to sources speaking to Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Salisbury adds that Chone Figgins and Miguel Tejada are also of interest, but to a lesser degree.
Phils GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told Salisbury he'd "rather do something early," but doesn't see that happening. DeRosa signed early with the Cubs three years ago, specifically on November 14th. Salisbury debates the merits of Polanco, DeRosa, and Beltre in his column. Which do you prefer? By the way, ESPN's Jayson Stark finds Figgins an unrealistic fit for the Phillies for a variety of reasons.
In other Phillies news, Salisbury notes Korean reports suggesting Chan Ho Park wants to start in 2010. Amaro has heard differently from Park's agent. Starting was a big factor in Park's decision to sign with the Phillies a year ago.
- GM Dave Dombrowski replied "Nothing hot and heavy" when asked if there was any trade dialogue ongoing.
- The Tigers would "likely bite on an affordable two-year deal" for Fernando Rodney, but would probably not want to gamble on anything longer.
- Brandon Lyon's agent, Barry Meister, emphasized that his client wants to know what his job description in 2010 will be ahead of time. The Tigers may not be willing to commit to him as closer, and Lyon knows that's where the money is.
- Placido Polanco "has all but been consigned to free agency."
- Henning thinks the "best bet" is that Adam Everett and the team agree to a "mutually pleasing" contract.
- Detroit will make no effort to sign either Jarrod Washburn or Aubrey Huff. Washburn has already said that he isn't expecting to get an offer from his post-trade deadline employer.
- The Tigers have already traded away their most expendable minor league arms, so they aren't blessed with much trade ammo.
- John Lowe of The Detroit Free Press says the Tigers weren't involved in trade talks for J.J. Hardy. Brewers' GM Doug Melvin said he was looking for a centerfielder or cost efficient pitching, and he "did not see a match."
- MLB.com's Jason Beck notes that the Tigers were deep in talks with the Mariners for Michigan native J.J. Putz last offseason, but they can now take him on as a "low-risk, high-reward signing" if they so choose.
More links on this Saturday night...
- The Indians' "trio of managerial candidates" each told the club how they would improve the team's less-than-stellar bullpen. Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer brings us the ideas of Manny Acta, Bobby Valentine and Torey Lovullo. Chris Perez was one of the Tribe's bright spots in relief, posting 38 Ks in 33.1 IP after coming over from St. Louis in the Mark DeRosa trade.
- Hoynes also writes that Jon Nunnally is expected to be a "serious candidate" for the team's hitting coach vacancy, regardless of who the manager is. Nunnally is currently the hitting coach for the team's triple-A affiliate under the aforementioned Lovullo.
- Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Major League Baseball is monitoring the McCourts' battle in Chavez Ravine. Bob DuPuy, president and chief operating officer of MLB, says that the commissioner's office has not encouraged the McCourts to sell the team.
- Shaikin also says that the Dodgers will not use freed-up cash in free agency, but will instead use those funds to retain their arbitration eligible core players. Those players include Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, James Loney, Russell Martin, Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton and George Sherrill.
- A broken ankle won't cost Tigers' second baseman Scott Sizemore any time in Spring Training, writes Jason Beck of MLB.com. Barring any unforeseen setbacks in his recovery, it seems that Detroit can still afford to allow free agent Placido Polanco to walk.