Rafael Martin Rumors
Free agent catcher Mike Napoli met with Boston executives over the weekend, though the Red Sox don't appear to have extended him a formal offer. Here are today’s Napoli-related rumors, with the most recent updates at the top:
- Napoli and agent Brian Grieper are scheduled to meet with the Rangers this week, Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com reports. The meeting will likely take place on Wednesday.
- The Mariners seek offense, experience and leadership and may be the best bet to offer Napoli the four-year deal he wants, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Mariners, who finished last in the American League in runs scored again, will almost certainly add other hitters, according to Rosenthal.
- Napoli appears to be the top target of the Red Sox, ahead of Nick Swisher, Adam LaRoche and others, Rosenthal writes.
- While the Rangers want Napoli back, “they want him to return on their terms” in the words of one person. Rosenthal suggests this means the Rangers wouldn’t go beyond three years for the right-handed hitter.
- The Yankees still figure to re-sign Russell Martin, another free agent backstop.
The market for Russell Martin is intensifying, with three AL East teams showing varying levels of interest, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays are all interested in the catcher, who may have other suitors.
The Mets appeared to have interest, but the chances of Sandy Alderson signing Martin seem slim now that the GM has agreed to sign Ronny Paulino. The Dodgers could re-enter the sweepstakes at some point.
ESPN.com's Buster Olney reported this week that Martin, a Montreal native, would like to sign with an East Coast team (Twitter link).
Links for Friday...
- Chad Jennings of The Journal News reports that Marcus Thames can opt out of his contract with the Yankees if he doesn't make the team out of Spring Training. Thames signed a minor league deal earlier this month that would pay him $900K in the big leagues.
- Alyson Footer, the Astros' Sr. Director of Social Media, tweets that the team has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with infielder Tommy Manzella worth $400K. He's expected to be the team's regular shortstop in 2010, and he has less than a month's worth of service time.
- Mike Aviles and Anthony Lerew agreed to terms with the Royals according to a team press release. Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star tweets that both deals are expected to be worth less than $500K. Both players are not yet eligible for arbitration.
- Meanwhile, the Marlins also agreed to terms with six of their pre-arbitration eligible players, reports MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.
- Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun reports that Orioles' lefty Brian Matusz has changed agents, and is now represented by CAA Sports. He had a 4.63 ERA in 44.2 innings last year, and is widely considered to be one of the two or three best pitching prospects in the game.
- Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo spoke about the Livan Hernandez signing to MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling, and said that the righty isn't guaranteed a rotation spot.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports polled nearly 20 baseball people about Carl Crawford's next contract. Many of the agents and executives expect Crawford to command a five-year deal worth $12-16MM per season, but some think the left fielder could make as much as $18MM per year when he hits the open market, probably after 2010.
- Scott Rolen was happy to restructure his contract so the Reds could "free up some money to go out and be more competitive," according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
- Nationals pitcher Rafael Martin tells MLB.com's Bill Ladson that he agreed to his deal on February 8th (Twitter link).
- Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd told Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports that he wants his players to be driven by "more than money." O'Dowd also told Ringolsby that he did not shop Brad Hawpe this winter.
- The Mets are still looking at lefty and righty relievers, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (via Twitter).
- Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt tells Scott Lauber of the News Journal that he expects Placido Polanco to make a smooth transition to third base.
- Marlon Byrd tells USA Today's Bob Nightengale that he's uncomfortable being compared to friend and former teammate Milton Bradley.
- Big market clubs sent $433MM to small market clubs last year, according to Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball.
- The Red Sox don't generally use insurance on their long-term deals. Principal owner John Henry tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that "it isn't always easy to get paid," even once players are injured.
- Jose Julio Ruiz may be close to signing, but it won't be with the Nationals, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- Astros owner Drayton McLane, who has "a huge amount of confidence" in GM Ed Wade, would consider selling his team for $600MM or more, according to Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle.
Washington has purchased the contract of right-handed reliever Rafael Martin from his Mexican League team, Saltillo. ESPN's Jorge Arangure was the first to break the news (via Twitter), and said the Nationals "agreed to terms" with Martin for a deal worth $450K a "couple weeks ago." MLB.com's Bill Ladson tweeted that Martin just passed his physical today, which may have been the reason for the delay in announcing the move.
Martin, 26, posted a 4.12 ERA in 63 1/3 innings for Saltillo last season and recorded 65 strikeouts. Ladson reported that Martin will start the season in Double or Triple-A, and that the Nats see the reliever as a possible set-up man behind Drew Storen. Ladson also said the Mariners and Yankees had been interested in acquiring Martin.