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Rafael Soriano Rumors
With the Winter Meetings completed, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports lists the five winners and five losers from the gathering in Nashville. A sampling: the Red Sox were "winners" for adding solid veterans like Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino, while the Angels were "losers" since the additions of Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton don't represent an upgrade for the club's rotation.
Here's some more news from around the majors…
- The Red Sox "would be expected to jump in" on Kyle Lohse if he was willing to accept a three-year contract, writes ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes. We heard during the Winter Meetings that the Red Sox and Angels were both interested in Lohse.
- Rafael Soriano may have made a mistake by opting out of his guaranteed $14MM from the Yankees in 2013, as there doesn't appear to be much of a remaining market for big-ticket closer contracts, writes SI.com's Tom Verducci.
- Scott Boras talked to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about the Pirates' controversial military training regimen for minor leaguers and the Bucs' failure to sign right-hander Mark Appel, who the Pirates chose with the eighth overall selection in last year's amateur draft. Boras believes the Pirates erred by not informing he and Appel about the pick beforehand: "There was no communication with us (before the draft). We would’ve been happy to have given them an advance (notice) that they could’ve used their pick in (another) way. We certainly would’ve let them know we didn’t have a fit there."
- The average salary amongst Major League players was $3.2MM in 2012, a rise of 3.8% from the 2011 season, reports Ronald Blum of the Associated Press.
It's the middle of the night, but news rarely stops coming in over the course of baseball's Winter Meetings. Here are some links from around the baseball world for those who are still awake…
- One of the reasons that Sean Burnett's two-year, $8MM deal with the Angels was so affordable was because he had surgery to remove a bone spur this offseason, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times. For comparison, Jeremy Affeldt signed for three years and $18MM.
- Danny Knobler of CBS Sports writes that the Phillies have a list of five center field targets that includes Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton, Dexter Fowler, Curtis Granderson and Ben Revere. This is the first they've been linked to Revere, who Knobler says the Twins will move for young pitching despite already having traded Denard Span.
- Scott Boras told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle that he's spoken to Giants team president Larry Baer about established closers like Rafael Soriano and Jose Valverde (Twitter link). There doesn't seem to be a match there in my opinion, given Sergio Romo's excellence and reports that the Giants are at their payroll threshold.
- The Rays have hired former Astros scouting director Bobby Heck as as special assignment scout, tweets Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.
Most of today's AL Central news consisted of Indians rumblings as the club looked to include Asdrubal Cabrera in a four-team blockbuster that has yet to come to fruition, but here's some more from around the division…
- Talks between the White Sox and Kevin Youkilis haven't reached an advanced stage despite each side knowing what the other is looking for, tweets Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. Youkilis is said to have multiple offers, with the Indians intensifying their pursuit.
- Scott Boras continues to push Rafael Soriano on the Tigers, despite the team repeatedly expressing that they have no interest in the closer, writes Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times.
- MLB.com's Jason Beck runs down the Tigers' trade of Andy Oliver to the Pirates, explaining that Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski thought Oliver could benefit from a change of scenery after a roller-coaster tenure in the Tigers organization.
MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith and Jason Martinez of MLB Depth Charts discussed suitors for Zack Greinke and the developing infield market on the latest Rosters and Rumblings podcast. Click here to listen in. Read on for some free agent notes…
- Agent Scott Boras seemingly took shots at Boston's Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli signings in his explanation of closer Rafael Soriano's demands, telling reporters including Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times, "We're seeing mid-level players make $13 million a year. The value of a closer, you would have to argue, has historically been more valuable than what you see in mid-level players." Apparently in reference to Tigers' plan to use Bruce Rondon, Boras said, "You can count on one hand the number of closers under the age of 23 that have ever gone to the big leagues and put together 30 saves, let alone pitch in the postseason and be effective." It has actually only happened twice, with Neftali Feliz in 2010 and Huston Street in 2006. If we include age-23 seasons, seven more stoppers join the list and Feliz appears again.
- Jim Thome remains undecided on whether to play in 2013, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel told MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince.
- 11 teams have expressed interest in free agent lefty John Lannan for potential Major League jobs, hears Amanda Comak of the Washington Times. The 28-year-old has drawn interest from the Mets, Twins, and Pirates, based on previous reports.
- A Tigers official tells Peter Gammons of MLB Network that Rafael Soriano "ain't happening with us" (Twitter link). Joel Sherman of the New York Post suggested yesterday that despite Detroit's apparent lack of interest in Soriano, the club shouldn't be ruled out entirely, given Mike Ilitch's relationship with Scott Boras.
- The Tigers need a right-handed bat in the outfield, but one agent who spoke to the team thinks Detroit may elect to fill that hole with a non-roster invite, tweets Jason Beck of MLB.com. That would leave the door open for 21-year-old Avisail Garcia.
In advance of his show this afternoon on SiriusXM, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and SiriusXM has been tweeting out a number of interesting tidbits from Nashville's Winter Meetings. Here are a few of the highlights from the former MLB GM (all links go to Twitter):
- Bowden views the Rangers and Red Sox as the frontrunners for Josh Hamilton, with the Yankees as a dark horse. He doesn't believe Hamilton would sign with the Mariners even if Seattle made the best offer.
- The Orioles, Mariners, and Rays could all approach the Nationals about trading bullpen help for Mike Morse if the Nats end up re-signing Adam LaRoche.
- Don't eliminate the Dodgers as a possible landing spot for Rafael Soriano, despite their multiyear commitment to Brandon League.
- After speaking with Reds manager Dusty Baker, Bowden believes Aroldis Chapman may be closing again in 2013 if it's Baker's call, which would affect Cincinnati's offseason plans. Of course, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes (on Twitter) that the decision isn't expected to be up to Baker.
Here's the latest from the Winter Meetings on a handful of free agents:
- Roy Oswalt is unsure about whether he'll pitch in 2013, one of his agents tells Morosi.
- The Mariners checked in on Delmon Young, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi reported previously that Young might wait until January to sign given his November ankle surgery.
- Grady Sizemore had been drawing interest from a few clubs, including the Red Sox, but he won't be a real option until midseason, according to MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince. Agent Joe Urbon confirmed to Castrovince that his client underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee in September.
- Besides being interested in Scott Hairston, the Yankees are also eyeing Cody Ross, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link).
- The Mariners have checked in on Ryan Ludwick, among other hitters, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
- Cesar Izturis' reps are expected to meet with the Mets this week and there could be a match there, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
- The Orioles' interest in righty Brett Myers appears minimal, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, and they have no meetings set up with his reps.
- The Twins are one team with early interest in southpaw John Lannan, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The Pirates also have an eye on Lannan, reported Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review earlier today.
- The Cubs are talking to many agents about bullpen help and they like Jason Grilli, tweets Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.
- Solid interest in Jason Bay (from teams other than Boston) may lead to a Major League deal, tweets Rob Bradford of WEEI.
- The Marlins are interested in utility man Mark DeRosa, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The 37-year-old had indicated at season's end that he was unsure what his future held.
- The Royals are "sending out signals" that they have the money and the motivation to pursue a pitcher who could be considered a No. 1, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. A run at Anibal Sanchez isn't out of the question for Kansas City, according to Knobler.
- Tigers people continue to say the team isn't even considering Rafael Soriano, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. However, Sherman notes that owner Mike Ilitch's great relationship with Scott Boras still makes Detroit a wild card in the Soriano sweepstakes.
- Rival executives view the Nationals as a good fit for Mike Pelfrey, especially considering GM Mike Rizzo and Scott Boras have a history of working out deals, says Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (Twitterlinks).
- Teams are showing "no hesitation whatsoever" in pursuing Jeff Keppinger, who underwent surgery to repair a right fibula fracture, agent Keith Grunewald tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitterlinks).
- Jason Giambi would like to continue his playing career, and is drawing interest from three or four teams, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
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The latest links from around MLB…
- The Cubs, Diamondbacks and Rays are bidding for free agent infielder Jeff Keppinger even though he broke his leg, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports (Twitter links). The 32-year-old recently broke his right fibula, but hopes to be ready for action by mid-January. Clubs don’t consider the injury serious enough to stop pursuing Keppinger.
- MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons said on MLB Network’s Hot Stove show that Tigers owner Mike Ilitch spoke with agent Scott Boras about free agent closer Rafael Soriano yesterday (hat tip: Ken Rosenthal on Twitter).
- The Dodgers confirmed the promotions of several front office members, including Logan White and De Jon Watson, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. White and Watson had been assistant GMs and are now vice presidents. They are both considered GM candidates within the industry.
- The Orioles aren’t expected to offer Mark Reynolds arbitration, but they’re trying to work out a new deal by Friday’s deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes recently examined Reynolds as a non-tender candidate.
- Jair Jurrjens is expected to be non-tendered and Peter Moylan’s status as a non-tender candidate remains unclear, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (on Twitter).
Buster Olney outlines the most pressing offseason needs for ten teams viewed as contenders in his latest column at ESPN.com. Here are more of Olney’s notes from around MLB…
- Some GMs and agents say they sense that others are still waiting at this stage in the offseason. There’s a sense that asking prices could drop and opportunities could emerge a little later on.
- The Giants aren’t sure they’re willing to commit to Angel Pagan for as many years as he’s seeking, Olney reports. But the Giants do believe they’ll find a way to re-sign second baseman Marco Scutaro.
- Rival executives say the Angels have a thin farm system, Olney writes. This puts pressure on GM Jerry Dipoto to address his rotation through free agency, which gives Zack Greinke considerable leverage.
- Some general managers believe the secondary starting pitching options are incredibly overpriced, Olney reports. MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker offers a complete list of the unsigned starting pitchers available in free agency.
- Some executives say they’d be comfortable offering Josh Hamilton a three-year deal that includes protective language for the team. I expect Hamilton can do far better than a three-year deal.
- The A’s seem like a possible fit for Asdrubal Cabrera, but they probably wouldn’t want to part with the kind of starting pitching the Indians would want in a trade for their shortstop.
- Rival executives expect Scott Boras to try to engage the Tigers on Rafael Soriano, according to Olney. However, the Tigers have suggested they’d prefer to rely on internal options instead of spending big on a closer.
- Some agents presume the Phillies will be particularly aggressive in addressing their center field need. Acquiring a center fielder remains the club's priority.
- The Red Sox are open to signing Cody Ross, even after agreeing to terms with Jonny Gomes, according to Olney.
Of the nine players who received qualifying offers this offseason, Rafael Soriano is viewed within the game as having taken the biggest financial risk by declining according to Joel Sherman of The New York Post. Teams don't want to invest big in closers because of their volatility now more than ever, especially after year one of the Heath Bell contract. Here are the rest of Sherman's rumors…
- The Yankees are privately pleased that Soriano opted out of his $14MM salary for next season. They'll allocate those dollars elsewhere and could use a portion of it on a reliever to replace Soriano.
- The feeling at the GM Meetings was that the Rays are much more open to trading a starting pitcher for offense than they have been in the past. They would talk about James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Jeff Niemann, and even Matt Moore in the right deal.
- In the wake of Jason Bay's departure from the Mets, Sherman points out that Tyler Colvin (.150 AVG in 2011) and Andruw Jones (.158 AVG in 2008) are two recent examples of outfielders who turned things around following dreadful seasons. Bay hit .158 this year.