Ramon Santiago Rumors
The Twins will likely pursue starting pitching, relief pitching, a backup catcher and middle infield help this offseason after finishing with the worst record in the American League. Here are some notes on the club's offseason plans...
- La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune hears from people in the Twins’ front office that the club recently examined the free agent market for starting pitchers and shortstops. They’re determined to find a reliable shortstop this offseason and Neal suggests free agents Ramon Santiago and Alex Gonzalez could be targets.
- The Twins will “push hard” to re-sign Michael Cuddyer, according to Neal.
- Earlier today, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian suggested the Indians will likely "kick the tires" on Cuddyer once he reaches the open market.
- Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com explained why the Twins traded Delmon Young to the Tigers in August. He was struggling in Minnesota and the Twins weren't likely to tender him a contract through arbitration.
- I looked ahead to the Twins’ offseason earlier in the month.
Another night, another pair of exciting LCS games. The Tigers succeeded in stretching the ALCS to a sixth game while the Brewers evened the NLCS at 2-2 with the Cardinals.
Here's the latest from around the majors....
- Frank McCourt's decision to take the Dodgers into bankruptcy means he could become the rare pro sports owner to sell his team and have no profits to show for it, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
- The Pirates haven't yet declined Paul Maholm's $9.75MM option for 2012 yet, and MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch explains that the Bucs are trying to find a trade partner who "A) thinks $9.75 million is a fair cost for Maholm and B) doesn’t want to take the risk of letting Maholm go into the free agent market."
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times examines the Mariners' franchise value and how it may impact the club's payroll in the coming seasons.
- The Mariners erred not once, not twice, but thrice in not keeping Ramon Santiago, writes Larry Larue of the Tacoma News Tribune.
- John Axford was released without fanfare by the Yankees after the 2007 season, long before Axford rose to prominence as the Brewers' closer. Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal looks back at the circumstances behind Axford's release.
- The Giants won't be able to afford the likes of Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes or C.C. Sabathia this winter, but MLB.com's Chris Haft believes the club "will make a genuine offer to re-sign Carlos Beltran." Beltran, for his part, said last month that he was open to returning to San Francisco if the team added more offense to the lineup.
- The week's minor league transactions are compiled by Baseball America's Matt Eddy.
- Diamondbacks CEO and president Derrick Hall predicts a "relatively quiet offseason" for his team since most of the major pieces are already in place. Hall also discusses Aaron Hill, Willie Bloomquist and several other topics in his monthly chat with fans on MLB.com.
- Baseball America's Jim Callis profiles Sean Buckley, the Reds' sixth-round pick in the June amateur draft and the son of Chris Buckley, Cincinnati's senior director of amateur scouting.
- A multiyear extension for Jacoby Ellsbury, moving Daniel Bard to the starting rotation and a possible run at Jose Reyes are a few of the suggestions made by Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston that would help the Red Sox put their catastrophic month behind them and focus on returning to the playoffs next year.
- Writing for Baseball Prospectus, Rany Jazayerli breaks down how just a year of age difference between teenage prospects reveals huge differences in projected production. "At least when it comes to high school hitters, young draft picks are a MASSIVE market inefficiency," Jazayerli writes.
We're officially less than a week away from the start of the 2011 season! Here are some news items to tide you over as we start the countdown to another great year of baseball...
- Ramon Santiago "is available in the right deal," an anonymous scout tells Steve Kornacki of MLive.com. The long-time Tigers middle infielder started 78 games last season, posting a .662 OPS in 367 plate appearances. Santiago's competition for the utility job, Danny Worth, "has made a great impression on Jim Leyland," Kornacki writes.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post isn't hearing much "trade buzz" (Twitter link) from scouts about Jose Lopez, contrary to a Ken Rosenthal report from earlier today. Renck reiterated his item from earlier this month about how Eric Young Jr. would draw interest if the Rockies wanted to put him on the trade market.
- Baseball America's Matt Eddy rounds up the week's minor league transactions.
- The Giants "might be the deepest team in baseball," but Dave Cameron of Fangraphs thinks their "big flaw" is Miguel Tejada and Mike Fontenot at short. Cameron suggests San Francisco should try to move one of their excess outfielders for "a real Major League shortstop."
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports shared some Sunday morning notes from Spring Training. Let's check out the highlights....
- With Adam Rosales recovering from December foot surgery, the Athletics would like to add an affordable utility infielder. Even someone like the Tigers' Ramon Santiago would be too expensive for the A's though, so they'll probably opt for an in-house option instead.
- The Yankees figure to start the year with Jesus Montero as Russell Martin's backup in New York. One scout cautions that the team needs to ease the top prospect into an expanded role, as he adjusts to catching at the big league level.
- The Phillies' utility infielder candidates have been playing well this spring, so they may not have to explore a contingency plan even if they expect Chase Utley to miss significant time. According to Rosenthal's sources, the Phils can't take on much salary. If the club were to pursue a player like Michael Young, the Rangers would have to take Joe Blanton and include cash in any deal, which Texas isn't inclined to do.
- With Kyle Drabek and Jesse Litsch the favorites to earn the Blue Jays' two open rotations spots, skipper John Farrell told reporters that Jo-Jo Reyes could crack the 25-man roster as a reliever. Earlier this week, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes examined the possibility of Reyes being a trade candidate.
- Teammate Chone Figgins likens Mariners prospect Dustin Ackley to "a more athletic Todd Walker," a comparison Rosenthal says is more flattering than you'd initially think.
- The Giants are looking to add rotation depth by pursuing "sixth starter" types. According to Shea, they're one of several teams interested in Andrew Miller, who visited the Giants in their suite Tuesday at the Winter Meetings.
- The Giants are also in the market for backup shortstops. Some names they've floated around include Orlando Cabrera and Tigers' utilityman Ramon Santiago. Edgar Renteria remains an option as well.
- Despite yet another surgery for Freddy Sanchez (this time on his left shoulder), San Francisco won't be pursuing any second basemen. Sanchez should be ready for Opening Day, and the Giants already have Mike Fontenot and Mark DeRosa to backup if needed.
3:42pm: Santiago will receive $2.5MM over two years, reports the AP.
12:52pm: The Tigers signed shortstop Ramon Santiago to a two-year deal, writes MLB.com's Jason Beck. The deal covers Santiago's final arbitration year (2010) as well as one free agent season (2011). Santiago earned $850K last year, hitting .267/.318/.385 in 296 plate appearances while playing both middle infield positions.