Rafael Soriano Rumors
- 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.
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.
The 4pm CST deadline for players to accept qualifying offers has come and gone and none of the eight players in play opted to return to their respective clubs for a $13.3MM salary in 2013. That means that Nick Swisher, Hiroki Kuroda, Rafael Soriano, B.J. Upton, Adam LaRoche, Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton, and Kyle Lohse will net their teams a compensatory pick if they sign elsewhere. Here's the latest from around baseball..
- The Giants are confident that they will be re-signing Jeremy Affeldt and the club believes that they will work out a three-year deal, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. GM Brian Sabean indicated yesterday that he is optimistic about being about to keep Affeldt, Angel Pagan, and Marco Scutaro.
- Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter) that he has not approached Corey Hart's agent about an extension and doesn't have immediate plans to do so. A report earlier today suggested that the Brewers and Hart were discussing a deal to keep him beyond 2013. The first baseman/right fielder is set to earn $10MM next season.
- The Tigers aren't interested in Soriano and plan to stay in-house to find their closer, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Right-hander Bruce Rondon, 21, will get a chance at the job.
Rafael Soriano will decline the Yankees' qualifying offer, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link). The move ensures that New York will receive a compensatory draft pick for Soriano should he sign elsewhere. Soriano was one of nine players who received qualifying offers from their teams, and the nine have until tomorrow to accept or decline the one-year, $13.3MM offers.
It was no surprise that Soriano declined the offer, as the Scott Boras client already opted out of the final year of his Yankees contract last week, leaving $14MM on the table in search of a multiyear contract with a team that could guarantee him the full-time closer's job.
It's hard to see how the Yankees could necessarily bring back Soriano given his desire to close and the fact that Mariano Rivera has said he will return in 2013. Rivera's health status is questionable after he missed most of last season with a torn ACL, though since Rivera will obviously have priority in closing games in New York, Soriano would find himself as a set-up man again unless Rivera were to suffer another injury. There's also the possibility that the Yankees could re-sign Soriano to close and let Rivera go as a free agent, though that move would be hard to fathom given Rivera's legendary status with the team.
The Yankees extended qualifying offers to Rafael Soriano, Nick Swisher and Hiroki Kuroda, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). The players now have one week to accept or decline the offers.
Soriano and Swisher are expected to decline the offers, but Kuroda could accept -- he has indicated he’d be content to sign a one-year deal. If he accepts he’d earn $13.3MM on a one-year deal in 2013. If he declines, he’ll be linked to draft pick compensation in free agency -- his new team will have to surrender a top selection to sign him.
The three Yankees figure prominently on MLBTR’s top 50 free agent list. Swisher ranks sixth, Kuroda ranks ninth and Soriano ranks 17th.
The Yankees are considering a defensive change for next season, shifting Curtis Granderson to left field and Brett Gardner to center, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Granderson's defense has declined in recent years, as he has posted negative UZR/150 ratings in four of the last five years, including a -18.2 UZR/150 in 2012. Gardner, on the other hand, has a career 30.6 UZR/150, ranking him amongst the best defensive outfielders in the game.
Here's the latest from both the Yankees and Mets...
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman doesn't plan to offer Rafael Soriano a deal similar to the one he signed after the 2010 season that established Soriano as Mariano Rivera's set-up man and understudy at closer, reports ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews. "I don't think Soriano would sign here if he's not going to be the closer," Cashman said. "And I don't think we would do again what we did before. He's going to want closer money and I doubt he would want to come back here as a set-up man." Soriano is a free agent after opting out of the last year of his deal, and agent Scott Boras said Soriano is looking for a four-year contract to close. Soriano could still return to the Bronx, of course, if Rivera retires and the Bombers suddenly have a hole at the back of their bullpen.
- Also from Matthews, he reports that the Yankees will make qualifying offers to Nick Swisher and Hiroki Kuroda. Swisher will almost surely turn this offer down but Kuroda "might accept it." The Yankees have interest in bringing back Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez on short-term contracts, while the club also would like to re-sign Andy Pettitte and Russell Martin.
- The Yankees haven't received any calls from teams interested in Alex Rodriguez, reports USA Today's Bob Nightengale. It could be a moot point, as Nightengale hears that Rodriguez isn't willing to waive his no-trade clause for any team.
- The Mets are continuing to talk to David Wright about a multiyear extension but talks are "stuck in neutral" and there is "nothing imminent" between the two sides, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post and Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger (both links to Twitter).
- ESPN's Jim Bowden believes Wright and the Mets will agree to a new long-term contract, but if they can't, Bowden suggests five teams who could become trade destinations for Wright.