Rafael Furcal Rumors
Derrick Goold and Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch have a round-up of what the Cardinals could be planning now that Albert Pujols has left town...
- The Cardinals "have explored what the market is" for Carlos Beltran. Beltran would see most of his playing time in center field, since Allen Craig is slated to be the everyday right fielder.
- Jimmy Rollins' desire for a five-year contract will probably keep the Cards out of the bidding unless Rollins is willing to accept a shorter-term deal. The team is still talking to Rafael Furcal and would like to bring back Nick Punto as a veteran backup, should the Cardinals decide to look within and give Tyler Greene a shot at the everyday shortstop job.
- The team is looking for a left-handed reliever and have spoken to representatives for Mike Gonzalez and J.C. Romero.
- The planned $110MM payroll for 2012 won't be lowered because Pujols is gone, said GM John Mozeliak.
- In regards to the Jake Westbrook/Kyle Lohse trade rumors, Mozeliak said no deals materialized and one of the starters would be dealt only if the Cards need to "reallocate" some money towards another move.
The Brewers are on the hook for a likely salary in excess of $11.5MM for reliever Francisco Rodriguez next year, after K-Rod accepted their arbitration offer. The latest on the team after GM Doug Melvin met with reporters:
- Melvin said he doesn't have to trade Rodriguez to clear payroll space, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The Brewers feel good about the back end of the bullpen now, and Melvin noted that Rodriguez's added cost should be considered less the $3MM he would have had to spend to sign two compensatory draft picks. That estimate doesn't hold water if you assume the Brewers would have received, say, the Padres' second-round pick plus a supplemental choice. Slot for two picks of that nature would probably total $1.25MM.
- Asked about Aramis Ramirez, Melvin said, "Anybody that's still a free agent is a possibility."
- Melvin hopes to zero in on a shortstop early next week. Yuniesky Betancourt, Alex Gonzalez, and Rafael Furcal are the candidates, writes MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
- Melvin gave some parameters to Takashi Saito's agent Nez Balelo, which didn't change post K-Rod. It's not an official offer, but Melvin expects Balelo to try to get more from another team. Six to eight teams have shown interest in Saito, Balelo told WEEI's Alex Speier yesterday.
Stray notes on various free agents...
- Dmitri Young is attending the Winter Meetings in Dallas, searching for a contract offer. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports tweets that Young has lost 70 pounds and would go to Japan if he can't land a job with an MLB team. The 38-year-old last appeared in the bigs in 2008 with the Nationals.
- Outfielder Cody Ross seeks a three-year deal, an NL official tells ESPN's Buster Olney. The 30-year-old hit .240/.325/.405 in 461 plate appearances for the Giants this year, playing all three outfield positions. He told Jaymee Sire of CSN Bay Area that the Giants are his "number one choice" (Twitter link).
- The agent for soon-to-be free agent center fielder Yoenis Cespedes is telling teams he'll require twice what fellow Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman received, tweets ESPNBoston's Gordon Edes. That is, $60MM. The Rangers, by the way, are unlikely to pursue Cespedes, hears MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
- Roy Oswalt's camp is waiting for C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle to sign to see the exact market, as most teams view Oswalt as a fallback option, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- Free agent shortstop Rafael Furcal underwent an appendectomy last week, tweets Yahoo's Tim Brown, and is recovering well at home in Florida.
- Teams are looking at Edgar Renteria as a multi-position utility guy, including third base, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Renteria wants to play for a contender.
The Brewers stand to lose both Takashi Saito and Francisco Rodriguez to free agency this winter, and GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel that he plans to talk to agents and look for bullpen help at the Winter Meetings next week (all Twitter links). Furthermore, the club is also looking to add infield help, though the only player they are actively trying to sign right now is Jerry Hairston Jr.
Jimmy Rollins, Alex Gonzalez, Rafael Furcal, and 2011 Brewer Yuniesky Betancourt are among the shortstops the club has checked in on. Melvin said he plans to meet with Betancourt's agent next week. Last week we heard that Milwaukee has already offered Hairston a one-year deal, but several other teams are interested as well. Melvin also confirmed that he does not have any offers out to free agent relievers at the moment.
10 National League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make today, and we'll update them in this post in advance of the 11pm central time deadline. For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here.
Updated team decisions:
- The Giants won't offer arbitration to Pat Burrell (B) or Cody Ross (B) according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). Carlos Beltran (A) contractually cannot be offered arbitration.
- The Dodgers declined to offer Hiroki Kuroda (B) arbitration, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times (on Twitter). Rod Barajas (B) already signed with the Pirates.
- The Pirates offered arbitration to Derrek Lee (B) while declining to offer Ryan Ludwick (B) and Chris Snyder (B) arbitration. Ryan Doumit (B) already signed with the Twins.
- The Phillies did not offer Roy Oswalt (A) or Brad Lidge (B) arbitration, according to the AP (via ESPN). The team announced that it offered arbitration to Raul Ibanez (B), Ryan Madson (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick), and Jimmy Rollins (A), according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com (via Twitter).
- The Cubs offered arbitration to Carlos Pena (B) and Aramis Ramirez (B) but not to Kerry Wood (B), according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter).
- The Cardinals offered Edwin Jackson (B) and Albert Pujols (A) arbitration, but declined to make offers to Rafael Furcal (B) and Arthur Rhodes (B), according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). That leaves Octavio Dotel (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary).
- The Mets offered Jose Reyes (A) arbitration, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (on Twitter).
- The Padres will offer arbitration to Heath Bell (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) and Aaron Harang (B), tweets Corey Brock of MLB.com.
- The Brewers offered Prince Fielder (A) and Francisco Rodriguez (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) arbitration. They declined to offer Yuniesky Betancourt (B) arbitration. Takashi Saito (A), contractually cannot be offered arbitration.
- The Braves did not offer arbitration to Alex Gonzalez (B), according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Teams with automatic decisions only:
- Reds: Francisco Cordero (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary), Ramon Hernandez (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary)
- Astros: Clint Barmes (B, already signed with Pirates)
- Rockies: Mark Ellis (B, already signed with Dodgers)
I hesitated at first to include the Astros in these NL Central notes. Thankfully, I've got a year to remap the standings on my mind's sports page. On with the linkage ...
- The Pirates are looking at shortstop Rafael Furcal and other options at the position, tweets Jon Heyman of SI.com, although not the premium types like Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins. It'll be interesting to see how the Bucs handle shortstop after declining Ronny Cedeno's $3MM 2012 option last month.
- Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan would be receptive to working out an extension with the team, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, who reports that there have been no talks but that neither side has ruled it out, either. It's not a regular occurence in Pittsburgh, where Neal Huntington has dished out just one multiyear contract to a reliever, Matt Capps for 2008-09, since taking over in 2007, according to Langosch. Hanrahan is under team control for two more years and is due a sharp raise through arbitration on his $1.4MM 2011 salary coming off a 40-save campaign. The 30-year-old right-hander should earn $4MM in 2012 through arbitration.
- New Astros owner Jim Crane said it was made clear to him before agreeing to purchase the Astros that the team would be moved to the AL, according to Astros senior director of social media Alyson Footer. Crane also cautioned not to expect the Astros to be big players in free agency this year, as they will instead focus on building the farm, and said payroll will "be in line with" incoming revenue (all Twitter links).
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin said he's interested in extending starters Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, as was reported yesterday, but that the sides haven't had talks yet and aren't in a rush to do so, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.
- Melvin also hasn't ruled out bringing Craig Counsell aboard as the Brewers' hitting coach, tweets McCalvy. Counsell, however, hasn't ruled out remaining in the game as a player.
- Cardinals CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. said the Redbirds are "going to make every effort" to re-sign first baseman Albert Pujols, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. We heard earlier today and yesterday that the Cards and Pujols' agent have resumed talks.
- New Cubs manager Dale Sveum may bring in Robin Yount as one of his coaches, writes Gordon Wittenmeyer of the Chicago Sun Times.
3:42pm: There are eight teams chasing Furcal, four of them want Furcal at second base and four are interested in him at shortstop, agent Paul Kinzer told Jim Bowden (via Twitter) on MLB Network Radio.
3:01pm: Interest in Furcal is heavy enough that the veteran should be able to get a deal to play shortstop, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Tigers, Blue Jays, and Rockies all like him at second base.
9:19am: Rafael Furcal's agent Paul Kinzer is believed to be seeking a three-year deal, reports Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, with two years and an option a possibility. The Padres aren't inclined to guarantee multiple years to Furcal, and Kinzer indicated yesterday he's open to a shorter term for a higher average annual value. Furcal did just that six years ago, taking a three-year, $39MM deal from the Dodgers when a longer term was available.
The idea of a multiyear free agent deal for Furcal at the time of his July 31st trade to St. Louis was laughable, given his health issues. 217 decent plate appearances for the Cards may have changed that, in the same way that a short stint after a trade earned Aaron Hill a two-year, $11MM contract. The Brewers have some level of interest in Furcal for their shortstop opening, and the Rockies, Tigers, and Blue Jays checked in on him as a second baseman. Regarding Kinzer meeting with the Brewers, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said, "I'm not going to base our reaction on rumors or innuendo. But if I woke up tomorrow and he was signed I'd be a little disappointed."
Aside the situations with Furcal and Albert Pujols, Strauss says the Cardinals will look into bringing back relievers Octavio Dotel and Arthur Rhodes. The Cardinals are "apparently willing to exploit" their depth in right-handed relievers.
The latest out of the National League West..
- Rockies closer Huston Street is a name to keep in mind for the Red Sox, tweets Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe.
- Based on multiple conversations with executives and agents, Troy Renck of The Denver Post tweets that the Rockies are not in on free agent Rafael Furcal. The shortstop is seeking a two-year deal in the $16MM range.
- The Rockies don't feel as though they have to give up a center fielder to get Martin Prado from the Braves in a trade, so there is still hope for a deal, Renck tweets.
- If Prado isn't a possibility for the club, Orlando Hudson might be, says Renck (via Twitter). However, the club is divided on whether he fits or if they would be better off turning to internal options instead.
- Rockies General Manager Dan O'Dowd is after a "No. 3 or No. 4" pitcher, writes Troy Renck of The Denver Post. The team's search has led them to talks with Roy Oswalt, and the team is being aggressive in their pursuit, according to several agents and executives, Renck tweets. While Oswalt is interested, he's in no rush to sign with anyone.
- Dodgers owner Frank McCourt will sell 100% of the team but retain the land outside of the Dodger Stadium parking lots in a deal that could be worth upwards of $1.3 billion, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
- FOX Sports released a statement on the Dodgers' lawsuit against them and termed the action as the "latest chapter in the current owner's ongoing scheme to avoid honoring his contractual obligations," tweets Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
Here's the latest on the Brewers, including what's happening at the GM meetings in Milwaukee:
- The Brewers are much more interested in Rafael Furcal than Aramis Ramirez, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports adds that the Brewers have strong reservations about Furcal and may stick with Yuniesky Betancourt. Still, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke admitted that he likes both Furcal and Ramirez today on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM with Jim Bowden and Casey Stern.
- Clint Barmes is another possibility for the Brewers at shortstop. MLB.com's Adam McCalvy writes that GM Doug Melvin will meet with Barmes' agent tomorrow.
- Milwaukee is considering whether funds are available for the top shortstop on the market, Jose Reyes, tweets Jon Heyman of SI.com.
- The Brewers inquired on Gaby Sanchez at season's end, tweets Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. If the first baseman becomes available, Milwaukee could make a play for him.
- Melvin says he hasn't given up on signing Prince Fielder, and will meet with Scott Boras today. However, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel thinks the GM has moved on, meaning Mat Gamel could get a chance to start the season at first base (all Twitter links).
- The Brewers will not attempt to re-sign Milwaukee native Craig Counsell, tweets Haudricourt.
- In another tweet, Haudricourt adds that outrighted players Mitch Stetter and Josh Wilson have elected free agency.