Rafael Soriano Rumors

New York Notes: Yankees, Mets, Hairston

Earlier today we learned that while the Mets are in need of outfield depth, they won't be considering high-priced free agent Michael Bourn.  That doesn't come as a huge surprise given their financial constraints, but they could be closing in on a much more affordable outfield piece.  Here's the latest out of the Queens and the Bronx..

  • While the Mets continue to talk to Scott Hairston, it would appear that the Yankees are not as involved at the moment, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets.  The Mets have a leg up over the Yankees in that they can offer him a starting job.
  • Despite rumblings to the contrary, Rafael Soriano did not offer to return to the Yankees on a one-year deal, Heyman tweets.  Soriano wants to close in 2013 and that's not an option with the Bombers.
  • The Mets picked up Terry Collins' 2013 option at the end of the 2011 season to avoid making him a lame duck, but they won't give the skipper a contract extension to circumvent that prior to the season, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.  General Manager Sandy Alderson acknowledged that there is the possibility that it could become an issue, but he expressed confidence that Collins would handle it in stride.
  • Alderson also told Rubin that regardless of whether Travis d'Arnaud starts the season in Triple-A or in the majors, the team's Opening Day catchers are likely already on the 40-man roster.  If the former Blue Jay opens the season in the minors, John Buck will probably start with waiver claim Anthony Recker in support.

Rosenthal On Padres, Orioles, Rockies, Phillies

The Orioles showed serious interest in Justin Upton before talks with the Diamondbacks sputtered, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported last night. Here are some more of Rosenthal’s notes from around MLB…

  • Rosenthal hears from one executive who expects the Padres to make another significant move. However, the Padres like their group of young starting pitchers and aren’t inclined to make a strong play for one of the remaining free agent starters. San Diego could still trade for a pitcher such as Rick Porcello, Luke Hochevar or Aaron Harang.
  • Talks about a deal involving Upton and Chase Headley didn’t progress, Rosenthal reports.
  • The Orioles continue seeking starting pitching and Joe Saunders remains a target. The Orioles also checked in on Porcello, according to Rosenthal.
  • Though the Orioles spoke with Lance Berkman before he signed with the Rangers, they weren’t interested in spending big for the switch-hitting DH.
  • Jeff Karstens, Derek Lowe, Aaron Cook and Jair Jurrjens are among the possibilities the Rockies are considering. The Rockies wouldn’t offer all of those pitchers Major League deals, however.
  • Rosenthal suggests free agent reliever Rafael Soriano could be a longshot for the Rockies. Colorado would have to surrender its second round draft pick to sign the Scott Boras client.
  • The Phillies continue seeking a right-handed hitting outfielder, Rosenthal reports. They’re still considering free agent Scott Hairston and trade candidates Alfonso Soriano and Vernon Wells. It’s possible the Phillies will go with platoons in both corner outfield positions.

Quick Hits: Mariners, Lohse, Soriano, Gerut

Kyle Lohse placed tenth on MLBTR's list of the offseason's top free agents, a reflection of the fact that Tim Dierkes expects the right-hander to help his next team. But unless something has changed in the last three days, Lohse hasn't received a single contract offer this winter. He’s tied to draft pick compensation after turning down a qualifying offer, and that has no doubt limited his leverage. Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs argues that the hate has gone too far, showing convincingly that Lohse adds value at the plate, on the field and, of course, as a pitcher. Here are more links from around MLB…

  • The Mariners would like to add a lefty to the rotation to replace Jason Vargas, but don't expect it to be Joe Saunders or Erik Bedard, writes MLB.com's Greg Johns in a Mariners Inbox piece. If a lefty joins the rotation, it's more likely to be one of Seattle's top prospects like James Paxton or Danny Hultzen.
  • It’s still early to be assessing the way the new collective bargaining agreement shapes the market for free agents such as Lohse, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes. While the market for certain players linked to draft pick compensation does seem slow, Davidoff points out that every one of these players declined a $13.3MM qualifying offer.
  • Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record hears that agent Scott Boras asked the Yankees last month if they'd consider re-signing free agent closer Rafael Soriano to a one-year contract (Twitter link). The Yankees flatly denied the request, Klapisch writes. ESPN.com's Buster Olney says the Yankees prefer the value of the draft pick and accompanying spending limit increase to the on-field value of Soriano (Twitter link).
  • Former MLB player Jody Gerut is working to reduce athlete bankruptcy in his new role as an agent with Wasserman Media Group, Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com reports. Gerut's focusing on educating athletes, particularly Latin Americans, about how to manage their finances.


NL Notes: D’backs, Rafael Soriano, Posey, Marlins

Seven years ago today, the Diamondbacks came to terms with Justin Upton, the first overall selection in the 2005 amateur draft, on a five-year, $6.1MM contract. The deal marked the largest signing bonus given in a minor league contract for a drafted player, who was not a free agent. Today, Upton is the prime trade target of the offseason. Just within the last 24 hours, we learned there is no match with the Padres, the Braves haven't engaged in Upton talks since before Christmas, and speculation that a deal will happen as soon as Arizona is offered the right mix of players. In non-Upton news involving the Diamondbacks and the rest of the Senior Circuit:


NL Central Notes: Cubs, Bourn, Reds, Rolen

The Cubs had interest in both Edwin Jackson and Anibal Sanchez this winter, but General Manager Jed Hoyer said that signing both was never in the cards, tweets Jordan Bernfield of WGN Radio.  Hoyer and Sveum met with Jackson in California while Theo Epstein and owner Tom Ricketts met with Sanchez in Florida.  Here’s more on the Cubs and other items out of the NL Central..


The Latest On Unsigned Top 50 Free Agents

At the outset of the offseason, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes published his annual list of the top 50 free agents with predictions. So far 43 of those 50 players have signed (or agreed to sign) new contracts, though Mike Napoli's deal with the Red Sox is on hold due to a hip problem. Here's the latest on the seven remaining unsigned players.


Quick Hits: Saunders, Cubs, Soriano, Gonzalez

The Orioles would like to re-sign Joe Saunders and have continued talks with him, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (on Twitter).  They'll have plenty of competition for the left-hander, however, as he is drawing high interest from three other clubs.  Here's more from around baseball..

  • On today’s edition of the Rosters & Rumblings podcast, MLBTR’s Ben Nicholson-Smith and Jason Martinez of MLB Depth Charts discussed the Mariners-Angels trade, the Cubs’ new-look rotation, and some recent trade rumors.
  • The Dodgers are still kicking the tires on Joel Hanrahan of the Pirates and free agent Brian Wilson as they look to deepen their bullpen, but they aren't in the mix for Rafael Soriano, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • The Nationals continue to talk to Mike Gonzalez about returning and the Reds are also in pursuit, Bowden tweets.
  • Sources tell Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter) that the Rangers were never serious bidders for Edwin Jackson.  The right-hander signed a four-year, $52MM contract with the Cubs earlier today.
  • Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik has landed a bigger bat for the middle of his lineup, but that doesn't mean Seattle is done with its roster maneuverings, writes Greg Johns of MLB.com.  The Mariners still have financial flexibility since they should several million dollars in the difference between what Kendrys Morales ($4.8MM) will earn compared to Jason Vargas ($7.4MM) in their final year of arbitration eligibility.  
  • Dexter Fowler told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (on Twitter) that Rockies General Manager Bill Geivett told him that it would take a lot in return for them to deal him to the Braves.  Atlanta is targeting Fowler along with Emilio Bonifacio and other outfield options.

Red Sox Closing In On Deal For Joel Hanrahan

3:00pm: The deal is not complete, but it is in the final stages, a Pirates source tells Bowden (on Twitter).

2:44pm: Outfielder Jerry Sands is in the trade, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

1:01pm: Jose Iglesias is not currently in the talks, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).

12:24pm: The Red Sox are moving closer to a trade for Joel Hanrahan, reports ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes. One source cautioned there is "still work to be done," however. It's unclear what the Pirates would receive for their closer, though Edes hears they want a "significant return."

Hanrahan, 31, pitched to a 2.72 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 5.4 BB/9 in 59 2/3 innings for Pittsburgh last season. He earned $4.1MM and projects to earn $6.9MM through arbitration next year. Hanrahan is scheduled to become a free agent after 2013.

Andrew Bailey, Boston's incumbent closer, pitched to a 7.04 ERA in 15 1/3 innings in 2012 while missing most of the year with injuries. WEEI.com's Rob Bradford reports they have not discussed free agent Rafael Soriano despite having a protected first round pick. The Dodgers were among the teams with interest in Hanrahan in recent weeks.


Olney On Soriano, LaRoche, Braves

Baseball’s most recent collective bargaining agreement introduced new rules regarding draft pick compensation, and the changes were expected to help free agents. However, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports that some agents and general managers say certain free agents who obtained qualifying offers are now seeing reduced interest from teams. These players are talented, but general managers are hesitant to give up draft picks. Here are more notes from Olney’s column…

  • One GM pointed out that teams aren’t “wild about giving up a draft pick for a reliever," even though Rafael Soriano is a good pitcher. The Yankees almost certainly won’t consider taking him back, according to Olney.
  • The Red Sox have targeted players who aren’t linked to draft pick compensation, as Olney points out.
  • Adam LaRoche is tied to draft pick compensation and it’s “really hurting him,” Olney writes. The first baseman has been sitting on a two-year offer from the Nationals.
  • It appears that the Braves would be fairly comfortable going into the season with Martin Prado playing both left field and third base. They’d use Reed Johnson in left field against left-handers and Juan Francisco at third base against right-handers in that scenario.

Quick Hits: Clemens, Tigers, Soriano, Mets, Dodgers

Agent Randy Hendricks dismissed the possibility of Roger Clemens pitching in the Mexican League, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (all Twitter links). "He is not going to Mexico no matter how many articles they run for publicity,'' said Hendricks, who also said Clemens only signed with the Sugarland Skeeters this summer so he could play with his son Koby close to home. Here's the latest from around the league as Saturday turns into Sunday…

  • People with the Tigers are still "fairly certain" owner Mike Ilitch won't be talked into signing Rafael Soriano, reports Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). He mentions that Ilitch was the driving force behind the Anibal Sanchez deal.
  • The Mets do not figure to get outfield help in a potential R.A. Dickey trade, and Joel Sherman of The New York Post says (on Twitter) the team will just patch things up with cheap free agents or trades.
  • Sherman notes that the impending Dickey trade and the James Shields trade show that the cost for high-end pitching is very steep (Twitter links). The Zack Greinke deal shows how steep the price can be in free agency.
  • Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times has a breakdown of the $2+ billion Guggenheim Baseball Management paid for the Dodgers. Magic Johnson kicked in $50MM while three others contributed $100MM apiece.