Randy Winn Rumors

Nationals Interested In Randy Winn?

4:12pm: Winn tells MLB.com's Bill Ladson (Twitter link) that he hasn't heard anything about the Nationals' interest.

3:13pm: Randy Winn has a new suitor, according to Ed Price of AOL FanHouse (via Twitter). The Nationals are interested in the 35-year-old outfielder. Winn hit .262/.318/.353 last year, but has appeal because of his glove (He added more defensive value than all but three outfielders in 2009, despite his age).

The Nationals have Josh Willingham, Nyjer Morgan and Elijah Dukes in the outfield, so adding Winn would probably mean dealing Willingham or reducing Dukes' role. Winn wants to get at bats, tweets ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick, so it doesn't sound like he'll take a bench role unless he has to.

The Royals were connected to Winn, but their interest has presumably waned, now that they're on the cusp of adding Scott Podsednik. Winn could make sense for the Padres, and we've heard him connected to the D'Backs for a while now.

Center Fielders On Royals’ Radar

ESPN's Jerry Crasnick names three free agents on the Royals' radar for center field: Rick Ankiel, Scott Podsednik, and Randy Winn.  It should be noted that none of the three logged 500 innings in center in '09.  Crasnick's source doesn't see the Royals spending much more than $2MM on a one-year deal, so playing time could be the biggest selling point.  Coco Crisp at $5.25MM coming off two shoulder surgeries might be seen as an overpay by Oakland, if these other free agents sign for less than half that.

My guess is that Scott Boras will end up finding a reasonable one-year deal for Ankiel, much as he did for Joe Crede last year.  Beyond the Pirates, we haven't heard much from other Ankiel suitors.  Podsednik could land with the Giants or Tigers, while Winn is being courted by the Padres and D'Backs.

Padres Free Agent Targets

As you might expect, new Padres GM Jed Hoyer is searching for bargains on the free agent market.  MLB.com's Corey Brock names names.

The Padres' first goal is to add a veteran catcher to back up Nick HundleyMike Redmond and Ramon Castro are on the radar, Brad Ausmus less so.  Castro has shown pretty good power for a catcher, with a .415 career SLG.

Outfield targets include Jerry Hairston Jr., Randy Winn, and Reed Johnson.  Hairston, of course, can handle the infield as well.  These players figure to land contracts of $2MM or less, in my opinion.

Olney on Bay, Beltre, Holliday

ESPN.com's Buster Olney believes the Yankees and Red Sox when they say that they have budget lines that they are not currently willing to cross.  When the trade deadline rolls around, however, it will likely be a different story.  Olney brings us his take on the teams who are still willing to spend this winter…

  • Since Jason Bay continues to sit on their offer, the Mets may soon give up on him and move on to less expensive free agents.  Olney suggests that they ignore fans who are focused on big names and instead spend their money on players who can be had for short-term deals, such as Randy Winn and Orlando Hudson.  The Mets "seem to have" something in the range of $15MM to $22MM in payroll flexibility. 
  • The Mets are shopping for a catcher, left fielder, and starting pitcher.  Joel Pineiro tops their list of desired starters. 
  • Olney characterized the A's consideration of Adrian Beltre as "serious."
  • As the Cardinals continue to wait on Matt Holliday's answer, Olney wonders out loud if the club might look into signing Bay as a backup plan. 
  • Rival executives sense that the M's have some money left to spend, but not a great deal.  Seattle needs either a first baseman or second baseman plus help for the back end of their rotation.
  • Because of the mass of arbitration-eligible players on their roster, the Angels have limited payroll flexibility.  This means that they could pursue Pineiro if they chose to, but are unlikely to factor into the bidding for Bay or Holliday.

Diamondbacks Rumors: Johnson, Winn, Valverde

Some D-Backs tidbits courtesy of Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic..

  • The club is still waiting to hear back from Kelly Johnson on the offer they made to him last week – believed to be for about $2MM.  Johnson's people told the D-Backs that he has better offers out there, but if all things were equal he'd prefer to play for them.
  • Arizona continues to be interested in free agent Randy Winn, but it seems as though Winn is looking to be a starter.  While the Diamondbacks can't guarantee him that, Piecoro says that he would likely get a fair amount of at-bats with them.
  • The D-Backs remain interested in bringing back Jose Valverde, but at their price.  A "scenario the Diamondbacks would consider" would be to offer him a one-year deal at a lower base salary than he is seeking (perhaps in the $5MM range) with a promise not to offer him arbitration after 2010.  This way, Valverde could hit the open market unencumbered by draft pick compensation.  Piecoro notes that he has "no idea" if Valverde would agree to that.
  • While they don't feel as though adding a starting pitcher is a neccessity, Arizona will monitor righty Jose Contreras.  The 38-year-old posted a 4.92 ERA with 7.2 K/9 for the White Sox and Rockies last season.

D’Backs Rumors: Kelly Johnson, Randy Winn

The latest on the D'Backs from Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic

  • The D'Backs are interested in free agent second baseman Kelly Johnson.  Piecoro says signing Johnson could prompt the team to trade Augie Ojeda, who recently agreed to a $850K contract.
  • Piecoro is "hearing Randy Winn's name as a possibility" for Arizona.  The 35-year-old hit just .262/.318/.353 for the Giants this year, but continued to excel defensively at the outfield corners.  In November, Winn's agent Craig Landis said his client is looking for an everyday job.
  • Piecoro says the D'Backs are likely to sell righty Tony Barnette's rights to the Yakult Swallows.
  • Piecoro writes of indications the D'Backs are not interested in Chien-Ming Wang, as they'd prefer not to bring in another health risk.

Giants Do Not Offer Arb To Any Free Agents

The Giants did not offer arbitration to any of their free agents – Type A catcher Bengie Molina and Type Bs Bob Howry, Randy Johnson, and Randy Winn.  It's a mixed result for Molina – he's more attractive to other teams (the Mets, for example) now that he will not cost a draft pick, but if he'd been offered and accepted arbitration he probably would've maximized his 2010 salary.

Giants Rumors: Molina, Pudge, Bay, Holliday

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports that the Giants are open to bringing Bengie Molina back, but prepared in case the catcher signs elsewhere. Here are the details:

  • The Giants won't likely offer Molina much more than the $6MM he made this year.
  • Molina wants a two-year deal, so Baggarly says the 35-year-old is unlikely to re-sign with the Giants.
  • The Mets could have interest, and Baggarly says an unnamed AL team expects to get involved, too.
  • Baggarly expects the Giants to offer Molina arbitration, but would be surprised to see the team extend similar offers to Bob Howry, Randy Johnson or Randy Winn.
  • The Giants have tried to acquire Ivan Rodriguez before, so they could bring him in to mentor Buster Posey and provide the club with insurance in case the top prospect struggles.
  • The Giants believe Matt Holliday's defense regressed a shocking amount last year.
  • Jason Bay seems like a better fit for the Giants.

Giants Advise Winn To Seek Employment Elsewhere

According to Andrew Baggarly of The Mercury News, the Giants called Randy Winn's agent to thank him for his services, then informed him to seek employment elsewhere because they have a number of young outfielders.

Craig Landis, Winn's agent, said his client is looking for an everyday job, and "believes he’d be a good fit on a team that is looking to add athleticism to a lineup that already has plenty of power production." The 35-year-old hit .262/.318/.353  in 597 plate appearances this year, and his defense in the outfield checked in at a stellar +20.1 UZR/150.

Giants Notes: Bay, Free Agents, Arbitration Cases

The Giants had a pretty busy day yesterday, re-signing second baseman Freddy Sanchez to a two-year deal, and outrighting lefty Noah Lowry, making him a free agent. Henry Schulman of The SF Chronicle has some more Giants' rumors for us this morning…

  • GM Brian Sabean says he sees a "later-developing market. We don't have a relative sense of urgency like last year, which will play in our favor."
  • Schulman says San Francisco is expected to make a run at free agent outfielder Jason Bay.
  • Sabean also said the team has had "some level of conversation" with each of their potential free agents, most notably Juan Uribe, Randy Winn, and Bengie Molina. Yesterday we learned that Uribe informed the Giants that he intends to test the market.

Meanwhile, Andrew Baggarly of The Mercury News notes that several of the Giants' core players are eligible for arbitration this winter, including Tim Lincecum, Brian Wilson, Jonathan Sanchez, and Ryan Garko. If Lincecum takes home another Cy Young Award this year, that would be the most awesome first year arbitration case in history.