Rafael Soriano Rumors
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.
- Michael Bourn (#3) - The 29-year-old center fielder has drawn recent interest from the Rangers, but not much else. MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith recently looked at some potential suitors for Bourn, who will require draft pick compensation to sign.
- Kyle Lohse (#10) - Despite being the best starter left on the market, the 34-year-old Lohse hasn't drawn much public interest. The Red Sox and Angels had interest during the Winter Meetings, though they've since moved on. The Rangers have not discussed him. Like Bourn, Lohse is attached to draft pick compensation.
- Adam LaRoche (#15) - The Nationals and LaRoche were inching towards a new deal as of last week. The Orioles are not in the mix. The 33-year-old is also attached to draft pick compensation.
- Rafael Soriano (#17) - Teams don't love the idea of surrendering a draft pick for a reliever, so interest in the 33-year-old remains tepid. The Dodgers and Red Sox are not interested, and the Tigers downplay their chances of signing him.
- Shaun Marcum (#19) - There's a healthy market for the 31-year-old right-hander, with the Mets, Twins, Padres, and Cubs showing interest. The Brewers have not discussed a possible reunion, however.
- Joe Saunders (#25) - The Orioles, Mariners, Padres, and Mets have all talked to the 31-year-old Saunders recently. The Twins made an offer to the left-hander this offseason as well.
- Jose Valverde (#44) - Valverde, 34, said he was unsure if he would pitch in 2013 back in October. The Tigers will not bring him back and there has otherwise been zero interest this winter.
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.
3:00pm: The deal is not complete, but it is in the final stages, a Pirates source tells Bowden (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.
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.
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.
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.