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It has been a busy week in the Big Apple with the Yankees losing Robinson Cano to the Mariners and coming to terms with Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Hiroki Kuroda. The Mets meanwhile were able to sign Curtis Granderson away from the Pinstripes. Here's the latest on the New York teams:
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters, including Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News, he's not done making moves. "I've got work to do," Cashman said. "I need a starter, bullpen, second base. We’ve still got work." Cashman also addressed a report Cano had reservations about playing for manager Joe Girardi. "I'm not aware of that. You'd have to ask Robbie, I guess. It's never been an issue that I'm aware of."
- The Mets are one of seven or eight teams who have inquired about Johan Santana, sources tell The Star-Ledger's Jorge Castillo. Michael Baron of Metsblog.com doubts any team will offer Santana more than a minor league deal because of his shoulder issues. The Mets opted for a $5.5MM buyout of Santana's $25MM club option in November making the 34-year-old left-hander a free agent.
- The Yankees have checked on free agent right-hander Mike Pelfrey, tweets CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman.
- The Yankees are interested in a reunion with Raul Ibanez but he isn't a top priority for them, tweets the New York Post's Joel Sherman. Ibanez, despite being 41, is being courted by teams in both leagues including the Rockies, Braves, Mariners, and Rangers, Sherman tweets.
- The focus of both the Yankees and Mets will be on the trade market rather than free agents during the Winter Meetings, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
- Martino adds, in a separate tweet, the Mets were never in on Scott Feldman and don't seem to be in play for mid-rotation help.
- CC Sabathia was surprised by Cano's decision because he did not expect the Yankees to allow Cano to leave, and he did not expect Cano to actually go, reports Andy McCullough of The Star-Ledger. "Just a player like that, putting on the pinstripes, and being able to play your whole career in New York means something – to me, obviously," Sabathia said. "It didn't mean that much to him. It's a difficult choice being a free agent. And he made a tough choice. I know he's happy with his decision, and his family's happy. So that's good."
Jay Z may claim that he "made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can," but the rap icon's high profile won't play any part in what the Yankees offer his Roc Nation Sports client Robinson Cano, Dan Martin of the New York Post reports. “The New York Yankees value Robinson as a great baseball player and appreciate his value on the field. But any value that’s added with Jay Z isn’t added to the equation,” a source tells Martin. Here's the latest news from the Bronx…
- Cano's original 10-year, $310MM demands haven't changed, ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand reports. Cano and his representatives are supposed to meet this week, with Marchand saying that the Yankees are looking for a deal in the $190-$210MM range for the star second baseman. Earlier reports suggested that Cano's demands had changed, and I would imagine his number will lower simply because no other team could (or would) come close to that $300MM mark.
- Also from Marchand, he hears from a source that the MLB/NPB dispute over the posting system will be settled and Masahiro Tanaka will be posted before the end of December.
- Alex Rodriguez's drawn-out suspension appeal and the possibility that his salary could come off the Yankees' books for 2014 will likely delay the free agent market. "A-Rod could slow everything down," a baseball official told Marchard. "Players always want the Yankees involved and the threat of them having extra money is leverage they probably will want to use."
- The Yankees, meanwhile, are hoping to get Rodriguez's situation resolved as soon as possible. Ken Davidoff of the New York Post outlines the latest in the A-Rod appeal hearings, which resumed today.
- The Yankees are interested in bringing back Raul Ibanez to serve as the designated hitter against righty pitchers, according to George A. King III and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. Ibanez played for the Yankees in 2012 and "grew impatient waiting" for a contract offer last winter, eventually signing with the Mariners. Some in the Yankee organization believe it was a mistake letting Ibanez leave, particularly since he enjoyed a 29-homer season in Seattle.
- Jhonny Peralta has been rumored to be a Yankee target but signing him could be difficult given the uncertainty with A-Rod and Derek Jeter's continuing presence at shortstop, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes. “They’re going to have trouble getting a legit shortstop to go there until it’s over with Jeter,” a player agent tells Martino. The Bronx Bombers reached an agreement with Brendan Ryan earlier today, but Ryan projects as a backup while Peralta can find a clear starting job elsewhere.
- Also from Martino, the Yankees' interest in Peralta is bad news for the Mets, as it remains to be seen if they can afford a bidding war for Peralta's services with the Yankees or any other free-spending team.
- Carlos Ruiz could have been of interest to the Yankees, but with the Phillies catcher now off of the market, they've set their sights higher and are zeroing in on Brian McCann, Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger writes. “He’s made for New York,” one rival executive said of McCann. “This guy is as mentally tough as it gets.”
MLBTR's Zach Links also contributed to this post
The Rangers' seven-game slide is obviously cause for concern as the club looks to punch their ticket to the playoffs, but it also has skipper Ron Washington worried about his job security for 2014, writes Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram. "I'm concerned about my job," Washington said on ESPN Radio. "If that decision is made, it's out of my hands. I hope I've gained credibility for what we've accomplished the past few years. I'm not a finger-pointer. We've all got to take blame for right now four our collapse, if you want to call it that. I'm calling it a slump. I don't really think about that type of stuff. I know at some point in this game of baseball, we all may have to look for another job." Meanwhile, GM Jon Daniels tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter) that Washington's job isn't in jeopardy. Here's more from around baseball..
- At the age of 41, it doesn't sound like Mariners veteran Raul Ibanez has any intention of walking away from baseball anytime soon based on his chat with MLB.com's Meggie Zahneis. "I feel very fortunate and blessed that I really, I get an opportunity to still do this," Ibanez said. "And there is no greater game, nothing else I would rather do than to play baseball."
- Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) looks at players who could be given the qualifying offer this summer and subsequently see their payday take a tumble thanks to draft pick compensation.
- Eno Sarris of Fangraphs looks at the ramifications of the possible changes to the Japanese posting system. Over the weekend, David Lennon of Newsday reported that the system could be altered this fall to allow for Japanese players to choose from the top three bidders instead of being locked into an exclusive negotiating window with one club.
The Giants have lost left-handed reliever Jeremy Affeldt for four-to-six weeks after a MRI revealed a moderate strain of muscle and tendon in his left groin, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Jose Mijares will absorb most of Affeldt's innings, but CSNBayArea.com's Andrew Baggarly writes the Giants could, if history is any guide, look to acquire another lefty reliever. Baggarly notes it was nearly three years ago to the day Affeldt injured his oblique and GM Brian Sabean acquired Javier Lopez, an under-the-radar move which paid dividends as the Giants won the World Series. In other news and notes from MLB's West divisions:
- While Affeldt's injury may change the calculus slightly, Baggarly, within that same article, sees the Giants continuing their quest for starting pitching. Manager Bruce Bochy loves Jake Peavy, but the two teams have not discussed a deal and the Giants don’t have the quantity or quality of trade chips to get a seat at the table, according to Baggarly.
- Ex-Giants closer Brian Wilson is expected to begin showcasing his arm for teams within the next few weeks and the Giants have asked Wilson's representative to include them in the process, reports Schulman. Wilson underwent his second Tommy John surgery 15 month ago.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti doesn't expect to make any franchise-altering deals prior to the Trade Deadline, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. "I don't know that that player is out there," Colletti said. "When I call around teams, there's not a lot of names of position players being discussed. I'm not sure if there's a market out there on the sell side."
- Earlier today, we learned the Dodgers are prepared to offer Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez something in the neighborhood of $50MM over five years. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, however, tweets sources have told him the Dodgers' interest in the Cuban right-hander is not as fervent as has been portrayed.
- Manager Eric Wedge doesn't think the fourth-place Mariners, winners of six straight, will be active at the Trade Deadline, writes MLB.com's Greg Johns. "Unless it's something that raises the bar, I don't think we're going to do anything," said Wedge. "We're not going to move somebody just to move somebody." The Mariners have several veterans on one-year deals, who could be appealing to contenders, including left-handed reliever Oliver Perez, left-handed starter Joe Saunders, outfielder Raul Ibanez, first baseman Kendrys Morales, and shortstop Brendan Ryan.
- Two years ago, the Dodgers had agreed to deals with both the Tigers and Red Sox for Hiroki Kuroda, but the right-hander invoked his no-trade clause to veto each trade. Through his interpreter, Kuroda provided FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal his rationale for refusing to join a team in the playoff hunt: if you only play for a team in August and September, it is not as meaningful as being with a club from Spring Training until the end of the season.
Angels star outfielder Mike Trout has the most trade value of any player in Major League Baseball, according to Dave Cameron of Fangraphs. That opinion is certainly hard to dispute given Trout's incredible performance level and team control, even though we are unlikely to see Trout's trade value tested on the market any time soon. The more interesting question with respect to Trout is what it might cost the Angels should they approach his agent, LSW Baseball, in a bid to lock up the 21-year-old to a long-term deal. Certainly, you should read the entirety of Cameron's trade value series if you have not already. (Links to to the full series are found at the above link.) Trout may be an easy call at the pole position, but the list is (as it should be) ripe for debate. I'd venture that Yadier Molina (#11) and Yasiel Puig (#24) are among the two biggest surprises on the high side, though Cameron certainly has insightful and interesting reasons for their placement.
In honor of the young Mr. Trout, let's take a look around the AL West:
- In case you were wondering, there were no substantial developments overnight on the prospective deal that would have delivered Matt Garza to the Rangers. Click here to get up to speed on where things ended last night. As we wait to see what direction that situation is headed, it is worth your time to take a look at this piece from Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs discussing why, exactly, the Rangers are pursuing Garza in the first place.
- The Mariners continue to be a fascinating team to watch as the trade deadline approaches. While Seattle has no realistic postseason prospects at this point, the club has performed well of late and appears to be loath to part with its more obvious trade assets. The team has several attractive veterans on short-term contracts that could be exchanged for minor league depth. On the other hand, a push for a .500 record could energize the fan base and help spur the development of its young core players, making the second half more important than one might expect for a club in this position. This piece from Larry Stone of the Seattle Times breaks down the decisions facing the club.
- For instance, GM Jack Zduriencik might prefer to make Kendrys Morales a qualifying offer next year rather than trade him now. Likewise, the M's could hang onto Raul Ibanez given his high standing in Seattle. Indeed, that would be Ibanez's apparent preference. He told reporters, including Stone, that while he does want to play for a contender, he doesn't see why that can't happen in Seattle. In fact, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Mariners have shown "zero indication" that key veterans like Morales and Ibanez will be made available.
- Trade talks on Astros starter Bud Norris — the consensus choice for top controllable starter available — are heating up, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. Though he does not offer details on actual trade talks, Crasnick says (on Twitter) that several teams could make sense as destinations for Norris, including the Giants, Indians, Nationals, Dodgers, Red Sox, Pirates, and Rangers.
Over the weekend, the Astros locked up second baseman Jose Altuve to a low-risk four-year, $12.5MM extension that carries a pair of club options at $6MM and $6.5MM. All told, Altuve can be controlled through the 2019 season if the Astros choose, and those six years would cost a total of $25MM. Here's more out of the AL West…
- In light of Altuve's extension, Brian T. Smith and Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle note that a position change is a possibility for top prospect Delino DeShields Jr., whose path to the Majors as a second baseman is now blocked. The No. 8 overall pick in the 2010 draft, DeShields is hitting .290/.388/.399 with 30 steals in 71 games this season at high Class A. Last season, he swiped 101 bases in 135 games. General manager Jeff Luhnow said for the time being, DeShields would finish the season as a second baseman.
- The Rays are believed to have checked in on Mariners bats such as Raul Ibanez and Kendrys Morales, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports in the most recent edition of his Stock Watch column. He speculates that the Yankees and Rangers would also make sense as potential trade partners for Seattle.
- From that same piece, Heyman adds that Joe Saunders is likely more available than either Morales or Ibanez. After a brutal start to the season, Saunders has a 2.37 ERA over his past nine starts. The Mariners are currently deciding when to begin a sale, says Heyman.
In a video report, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal passes on some updates on developing trade situations around the league. Here are the main takeaways:
- The Cubs have had relatively detailed talks on an extension with free-agent-to-be Matt Garza — including years and dollars — but Rosenthal says it remains much more likely that the starter will be dealt. There is a solid chance that a deal could be made before Garza's scheduled July 22 outing, says Rosenthal, with Chicago seemingly willing to accept less in return if a team is willing to eat more of the remainder of Garza's $10.25MM deal.
- Echoing previous reports, Rosenthal lists the Dodgers, Nationals, Red Sox, and Rangers as the teams most prominently in on Garza. He does note that there may be a few other teams who could make such a move. We've recently heard of interest from the Indians as well, though cold water has already been thrown on that idea.
- Rosenthal adds via Twitter that the Rangers have two scouts watching Garza pitch tonight, with the Tigers, Orioles, Pirates, and Blue Jays also scouting the game. Of course, as Rosenthal further tweets, the other clubs are more likely interested in Chicago's relievers and position players.
- While Rosenthal says that the Cardinals would be a nice fit for a starter like Garza, he says that it remains extremely unlikely that GM John Mozeliak would part with any elite talent to make such a deal. Rosenthal says that Cards could be on the starter market, but only if the club feels it cannot rely on internal options like Chris Carpenter.
- Meanwhile, Rosenthal says St. Louis does not feel any urgency to make a move at shortstop. While Pete Kozma is far from perfect, it would be hard to upgrade the position substantially at a non-prohibitive price.
- One obvious trade candidate, Raul Ibanez of the Mariners, is somewhat unlikely to be dealt in spite of his cheap, expiring contract and solid performance this season. As we've heard elsewhere recently, Rosenthal says that GM Jack Zduriencik would be hesitant to deal the once-and-current Mariner without consulting with him. According to Rosenthal, Seattle is more likely to trade other veterans like reliever Oliver Perez and starter Joe Saunders.
- The Rockies could be interested in making a deal for the Yankees' Phil Hughes, but Rosenthal says that they would be looking at him as a bullpen piece rather than a starter. If the Yanks are in fact looking for a significant return for Hughes, of course, the Rockies would seem hard-pressed to get an overly attractive price on the pending free agent.
- One other player the Rockies are looking at is starter Vance Worley of the Twins, who is currently working out his issues (with some success) at Triple-A. According to Rosenthal, Minnesota is loathe to ship off Worley at a discount because they view him as a rebound candidate and maintain team control through 2017. Worley's extended minor league stay could make him even cheaper, as he may lose his expected Super Two status and figures to earn less whenever he does reach arbitration.
Here's a look at the latest news from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com..
- Mariners reliever Oliver Perez has drawn interest from the Orioles, Braves, and other clubs, according to Heyman. Perez has reinvented himself as a bullpen arm in the last two years with the Mariners, posting a 2.00 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 across 63 innings in Seattle. Competing execs note that Perez is more cost-efficient in terms of prospects and cash than a guy like Matt Thornton. The veteran would cost another team the prorated portion of his $1.5MM for the rest of the year.
- Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez could also bring a strong return to General Manager Jack Zduriencik & Co and the Rays are among the clubs that have inquired on their hitters. However, parting with them would cause them to go into a free fall and also adversely affect the top prospects on the big league roster. For his part, Jack Z isn't anxious to move anyone. "We'll see how this week goes. I'm not going to be the aggressor,'' the GM told Heyman earlier this week. "I'm not shopping anyone.''
- Seattle people have been wondering if the Yankees might call about Morales thanks to their rash of injuries. The Rangers could also come calling.
- A Mariners person said they've gotten calls on injured center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, but his injury history hurts his value. Closer Tom Wilhelmsen has drawn interest and the Red Sox have had interest in the past, but Zduriencik is said to be hesitant to trade him since he's under control for a few more years. Brendan Ryan, who is no longer the starting shortstop, could also be of interest to someone as a defensive specialist in the infield.
- Opinions are mixed, but one rival executive tells Heyman that Phil Hughes could fetch quite a bit in a trade. Another rival exec quipped that the Bombers might trade Joba Chamberlain for a pine-tar rag. We learned earlier today that the Yankees are aggressively pushing both pitchers.
Baseball America released its updated rankings of the sport's top 50 prospects, headlined by Twins outfielder Byron Buxton. For Baseball America subscribers, BA's J.J. Cooper also has lists of 10 prospects who missed the top 50 but are still having breakthrough seasons, preseason top-100 prospects who missed the new list, how the thirty preseason top-100 prospects who have already made the Major Leagues are faring and also a look at five organizations who have made strides and five who have struggled.
Here are some items from around the baseball world…
- The Red Sox still have interest in Michael Young, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets, but "serious names have not been discussed" between the Sox and Phillies in trade negotiations.
- The Cubs have reportedly explored extending Matt Garza's contract but CSN Chicago's David Kaplan doesn't believe it and neither does an American League executive. "Theo [Epstein] and Jed [Hoyer] know that they have a great asset. They will not cave on what they want in return," said the AL exec. "They will play this thing out until they get what they want. He's too valuable to not trade. When you are in a rebuild you need to move assets to fuel the plan. Garza should help to do that. I'd be stunned if he is a Cub Aug. 1." (Twitter links here)
- Reds general manager Walt Jocketty confirmed that he had spoken to Jeff Francoeur's agents at CSE, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports (via Twitter). "He's talking to other clubs as well. [I'm] not sure it's a fit," Jocketty said. Francoeur is known to have drawn interest from at least two other teams since he was released by the Royals. Francoeur could be a right-handed hitting stopgap for Cincinnati until Ryan Ludwick returns from the DL in August.
- Also from Fay, he thinks the strong recent performance of the Reds' bullpen should shift the team's trade deadline focus to hitting instead of relief pitching. Fay opines that the Reds should look to acquire Twins outfielder Josh Willingham, who I'd guess would be too expensive for the Reds' liking (owed roughly $9.35MM through 2014) and is on the DL until August following knee surgery.
- The Mariners have a number of trade chips on the roster but Larry Stone of the Seattle Times feels the team's toughest decisions will concern Raul Ibanez and Kendrys Morales. On paper the 41-year-old Ibanez is an obvious candidate to be dealt, though Ibanez's popularity on and off the field in Seattle will make the M's consult him before any possible deal. I examined the case for Morales as a trade candidate back in April.
- Every Major League transaction is a complicated process, and they get even more complex when they have to be made quickly. MLB.com's Corey Brock outlines how the Padres had to move fast to replace the injured Yasmani Grandal, which led to a shakeup of catchers at all levels of the organization and a lot of roster juggling that eventually led to Rene Rivera being called up from Triple-A Tucson to Washington for the next day's game.
The Mariners have officially signed Raul Ibanez to a one-year contract, the team announced. The deal is worth $2.75MM guaranteed with another $1.25MM in performance bonuses. The ACES client played in Seattle from 1996-2000 and 2004-2008.
Ibanez, 40, hit .240/.308/.453 with 19 homers in 425 plate appearances for the Yankees last season. He was considerably more productive against righties (.248/.319/.492) and at Yankee Stadium (.273/.349/.545), and he wound up starting 76 games in the outfield due to Brett Gardner's injury. The Yankees, Rangers, and Phillies also had interest in signing him.
The Mariners acquired Kendrys Morales last week, who gives the team a logjam at first base and DH along with Jesus Montero, John Jaso, Justin Smoak, and Ibanez. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes did not rate Ibanez as one of this winter's top 50 free agents. The Mariners designated D.J. Mitchell for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the agreement while The Associated Press, WFAN's Sweeny Murti, and MLB.com's Greg Johns added details (Twitter links). Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.