Randy Winn Rumors

Looking At The Needs Of Some Contenders

With Spring Training wrapping up around the country, teams are finalizing their rosters and picking the 25 players they'll start the season with. There's always room for improvement, but some contenders have some very obvious weak spots on their rosters. Here's a look at some of them, which may need to be addressed during the season…

  • Angels, third base: Brandon Wood and Maicer Izturis will get the first cracks at replacing Chone Figgins, but if neither is up to par, the Halos might be looking for a fill-in at the hot corner.
  • Braves, outfielder: Superstar in training Jason Heyward will start the year in right, but incumbent centerfielder Nate McLouth had a brutal spring (6-for-51), which may push Melky Cabrera into full-time duty.
  • Rays, setup man: With J.P. Howell on the shelf due to a bum shoulder, the team has no obvious candidate to hand the ball off to new closer Rafael Soriano. Dan Wheeler and Grant Balfour represent solid options, but if Howell misses more time than expected, the Rays might be looking to add a reliever.
  • Twins, closer: This is the most obvious hole of them all. Joe Nathan is out for the season after having elbow surgery, and Jon Rauch will get the first chance to replace him. 
  • Yankees, left field: The team is breaking camp with Brett Gardner, Randy Winn, and Marcus Thames set to share time in left, but we've already seen a scenario laid out in which they might need help sooner rather than later.

That doesn't include all of the clubs that could very well be looking to add a starting pitcher at some point, like the Mariners, Mets, Phillies, Cubs, and Dodgers. Some other holes aren't so obvious though. Maybe the Red Sox could use another reliever (who couldn't?), or perhaps Seattle will go looking for a big bat that fits into their extreme run prevention plan. 

What other areas of need to do you see out there for contenders?

Yanks Could Be Shopping For Outfielder Soon

Some in the industry are already wondering if the Yankees could be in the market for outfield help soon, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports

Both Randy Winn and Marcus Thames have struggled this spring, though Thames officially made the club's Opening Day roster today.  The club may find themselves uneasy with the two veterans as starting left fielder Brett Gardner is not yet an established major league hitter.  They would be especially thin in the outfield if Curtis Granderson or Nick Swisher are bitten by the injury bug.

Rosenthal writes that the Yankees figure to be more patient with Winn as he is more than four years removed from playing in the AL.  

The Yankees investment in Winn and Thames amounts to just $2MM combined.  Rosenthal writes that if one or both struggle, and Gardner also stumbles out of the gate, then the team could be seeking an outfielder quickly.

Yankees Sign Randy Winn

The Yankees officially signed outfielder Randy Winn to a one-year, $1.1MM deal today.  He can earn another $900K in incentivesJoel Sherman of the New York Post first reported the agreement on January 27th, with SI's Jon Heyman tweeting the contract value.  The Winn signing definitively closed the door on Johnny Damon, tweets Sherman.

Winn, 35, slipped to .262/.318/.353 in 597 plate appearances for the Giants last year (including a brutal 125 PAs against lefties).  His corner outfield defense still rates well; that was probably the draw for Yankees GM Brian Cashman.

Blue Jays Checked In On Johnny Damon

6:40pm: The Jays have talked to Boras about Damon, according to Jordan MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.  In a follow up tweet, Bastian quotes GM Alex Anthopoulos telling fans at a  season-ticket holder Q&A session, "I don't want to get your hopes up."  However, Bastian writes that the club has had internal discussions about the veteran slugger, as they have a need at the leadoff spot.

The Jays have also considered bringing Carlos Delgado back, Anthopoulos and manager Cito Gaston revealed in the session.

8:33am: Yesterday we learned from ESPN's Jerry Crasnick that agent Scott Boras is "trying to engage" the Reds and Tigers on Johnny Damon.  Today, two Reds beat writers label the Reds an unlikely match.  MLB.com's Mark Sheldon talked to Reds GM Walt Jocketty, who admitted to discussing Damon but says the outfielder doesn't fit financially.  The Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay calls their interest "lukewarm." 

Fay says the Reds called Boras about Xavier Nady and asked about Damon too.  Via Twitter, Fay notes that Reds owner Bob Castellini might adjust the budget for the right free agent addition.  Fay says the Reds are still talking to Jonny Gomes and Orlando Cabrera, and feels something is brewing in Cincinnati.

Yesterday, we learned from Joel Sherman of the New York Post that the Rays have interest in Damon as a DH candidate.  The Yankees are out, having agreed to a deal with Randy Winn yesterday.  In another article, Sherman chronicles a last-ditch attempt by Damon to engage the Yanks in the middle of last week.  Public sniping between Boras and GM Brian Cashman followed.  Sherman has more on the Cashman-Boras drama here.

Rays Interested In Johnny Damon

The Rays have interest in Johnny Damon as a DH candidate, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  Sherman says the Rays are considering Damon even if they can't unload Pat Burrell.  Sherman's sources believe Damon would be willing to play for $7MM, partially deferred. 

We learned earlier today from ESPN's Jerry Crasnick that agent Scott Boras is "trying to engage" the Reds and Tigers for Damon.  Crasnick notes that those clubs would have a hard time fitting Damon into the budget.  The Yankees are out, having reached an agreement with Randy Winn today.

Oakland's rumored interest in a Damon reunion was not directly addressed by GM Billy Beane, reports MLB.com's Jane Lee.  Still, Beane said his priority is adding infield depth.

Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.

Damon, Yankees Have Been Talking

SATURDAY, 3:12pm: Yanks GM Brian Cashman denies that the club is waiting on Damon before looking into other outfield options, reports Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees Blog.

Additionally, Cashman stressed that the team has "had no discussions on Jermaine Dye" and is "not on Jim Edmonds at all."

2:30pm: In a text to Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger, Damon says that he "should have a team in a week" (via Twitter).

1:56pm: Heyman reports (via Twitter) that Damon has "days" to take a "low deal" from the Yankees.  Assuming he says no, the club will sign another outfielder from the group of Reed Johnson, Xavier Nady, Randy Winn, Jim Edmonds, and Jermaine Dye.

FRIDAY, 6:17pm: SI.com's Jon Heyman was on MLB Network's Hot Stove show tonight, and said that the Yankees and Johnny Damon have spoken recently. Here's his exact quote:

"He did meet or talk to the Yankees in the last couple of days. Still doesn't look like a great chance of happening though believe it or not. They are talking, but the Yankees have these budgetary constraints. They've been telling other teams they have about 2 million dollars to spend. I think for Damon they would probably go over that. I mean this is a guy who's had 100 runs scored 9 times and 24 home runs.  Terrific player, but I would still say more likely Braves or Tigers, at this point."

Two days ago we heard from former Yankee Jerry Hairston Jr. that the team never made him an offer because they're "waiting on Damon's price to come down," however GM Brian Cashman shot that report down.

It's certainly getting late in the offseason, however just for a frame of reference, Bobby Abreu didn't sign with the Angels until February 12th of last season. Damon might have a little more waiting to do.

Giants Notes: Byrnes, Winn, LaRoche

Let's take a look at some Giants-related tidbits courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea..

  • Eric Byrnes, who was recently designated for assignment by the D-Backs, told Shea that San Francisco would be the "best fit" for him geographically.  Byrnes grew up a Giants fan and makes his offseason home in the Bay Area.  The 33-year-old outfielder also admitted that he's not in a position to call himself an everyday player.
  • Shea floats ex-Giant Randy Winn as an option for the Mets should they seek someone to fill-in while Carlos Beltran recovers from surgery.
  • Adam LaRoche turned down a two-year, $17MM offer from the Giants to sign with the Arizona, where he may receive as little as $6MM for one year.  LaRoche said that one reason for his decision was that he preferred Chase Field's hitting conditions to AT&T Park.

Padres, Cubs Eyeing Jermaine Dye

THURSDAY, 8:06am: MLB.com's Corey Brock has a source saying a Dye deal is "low on likelihood" for the Padres.  More likely would be Randy Winn or Jerry Hairston Jr., to whom the Padres have made offers.  Another mild possibility for Dye is the Cubs.  The Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan says they're looking at him for a platoon/backup/DH role.

WEDNESDAY, 11:02am: The Padres are showing interest in free agent outfielder Jermaine Dye, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  However, Morosi believes the Padres would have to trade a veteran to be able to afford him.  He names Heath Bell and Kevin Kouzmanoff as trade candidates.

Dye isn't a great fit for a National League club, given his outfield defense.  And he's not the type of free agent you make other moves to accomodate.  Given the limited interest, I can't see him getting much more than $3MM.

Padres Have $5-8MM Left To Spend

A source has indicated that the Padres have about $5-8MM left to spend this offseason, according to Dan Hayes of The North County Times. The team is expected to enter 2010 with a payroll around $40MM. 

"There's no question there's good value out there," said (GM Jed) Hoyer, who declined to comment on which players the Padres have targeted. "Certainly we have money to spend. We're going to spread it around to some of our needs. There's a lot of good players."

Hayes says the club's biggest needs are a veteran pitcher, a righty hitting outfielder, a utility player, and a veteran catcher. We've already seen them connected to Mike Redmond, Ramon Castro, Brad Ausmus, Jerry Hairston Jr., Randy Winn, and Reed Johnson, while Hayes throws Josh Fogg's name into the mix.

Odds & Ends: Red Sox, Damon, Boras, Padres

Some links for Friday…

  • Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com reports that the Red Sox considered dealing Jason Varitek and Shea Hillenbrand for Adrian Beltre and Paul LoDuca before the 2003 season.
  • The Twins invited Mike Maroth and 13 other non-roster players to Spring Training, according to a team press release.
  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski tells MLB.com's Jason Beck (via Twitter) that the Tigers have no intention of adding a DH.
  • Giants GM Brian Sabean told Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle that the team is focusing on adding an outfielder, not a catcher or a starter. Sabean, who would prefer to add a left-handed hitter, did not confirm or deny interest in Johnny Damon.
  • Scott Boras would let Adrian Beltre baby-sit his kids, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.
  • Boras says he approached the Red Sox about the idea of signing Adrian Beltre to a "pillow contract," according to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. Boras likes that Beltre will likely attract lots of attention in Boston.
  • Boras tells Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he's starting to have "a lot of conversation" about Rick Ankiel. He also suggests Joe Crede could be a fit for the Cards.
  • Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times tweets that the Franklin Gutierrez extension should become official today.
  • ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick tweets that Hideki Matsui's one-year $6MM deal with the Angels set the market for other DH-types like Vladimir Guerrero.
  • As MLB.com's Corey Brock notes (via Twitter), the Royals' pending deal with Scott Podsednik could influence the offers the Padres make to Jerry Hairston Jr. and Randy Winn.
  • The Nippon Ham Fighters acquired former Blue Jay reliever Brian Wolfe, according to the Kyodo News.
  • Carlos Delgado hit a homer in the Puerto Rican Winter League yesterday, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com.
  • Jason Giambi is open to returning to the Rockies if he doesn't find a DH job, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
  • The St. Louis Post-Dispatch totals up the Cardinals' payroll and finds that the club has $7.4MM to spend on four players – an outfielder, an infielder, a reliever and a starter.