Reed Johnson Rumors
- Despite their recent ownership issues, the Rangers seem to have no problem with spending big. One of the reasons that they claimed Manny Ramirez on waivers was to prevent him from getting to two of their potential postseason foes, the Rays and the Yankees. It's probably for the best that they didn't submit the winning claim as seeing Ramirez or Vladimir Guerrero in the outfield would have caused some problems. Right now they should be fine offensively with Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler, two big right-handed bats, coming off of the DL soon. However, they had been interested in obtaining a fourth outfielder such as Reed Johnson.
- The Dodgers could let Ramirez go to the White Sox regardless of where they are in the standings. Rosenthal notes that he has played in just three of six games since coming off of the disabled list. In the last hour we learned that the twelve-time All-Star will not start in tonight's contest against the Rockies.
- Based on this week's events it appears that Major League Baseball is doing better financially than we are led to believe. Leaked financial reports showed that the Marlins and Pirates are taking in a decent amount of money and the small-market Rays took a $4MM gamble on claiming Manny Ramirez. Rosenthal asked a GM how three teams could take that chance and the GM replied that no one really could take that risk but everyone wants to win.
The Dodgers officially signed outfielder Reed Johnson to a one-year, $800K deal today. He can earn another $250K in incentives. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the near-agreement on Sunday, with Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times adding contract details.
Johnson, 33, hit .255/.330/.412 with the Cubs last season, seeing time at all three outfield positions, though primarily in center field. He was limited to just 65 games as a result of a fractured left foot. The Cubs non-tendered him after the season rather than pay him a salary in the $3MM range.
We've heard recently that the Dodgers have been in touch with Garret Anderson, but the Johnson acquisition likely puts an end to that. Johnson makes more sense as a fourth outfielder, given his ability to play anywhere in the outfield, though UZR suggests that his only strong spot is in left.
Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.
Sunday night linkage..
- Despite their budget constraints, Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times expects the Rays to upgrade their roster. Topkin mentions several quality free agents who may have to accept minor league deals such as Jim Edmonds, Rocco Baldelli, and ex-Ray Jonny Gomes as proof that the market is rife with valuable players.
- At the Mariners Fan Fest event, pitcher Mark Lowe told the crowd in attendance that he keeps up on all of the latest transactions with MLBTradeRumors (video from MLB.com, :40 mark). Dave Sims - the television voice of the M's - followed that up with his own mention of MLBTR. Thanks guys!
- Tim brings us the terms of Jamey Carroll's contract with the Dodgers via Twitter. Carroll will earn $1.35MM in 2010 and $2.5MM in 2011. The 35-year-old could also earn up to $525K per year in plate appearance incentives.
- The Dodgers are among the teams that have reviewed Chien-Ming Wang's medical records, according to a tweet from Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. Recently, ESPN's Jayson Stark pegged the Dodgers as a possible destination for the 29-year-old.
- Washington GM Mike Rizzo and Orlando's Hudson's representative haven't talked in a couple of days, according to MLB.com's William Ladson (via Twitter). Furthermore, Rizzo says that if Hudson has brought his price down, it's news to him (also via Twitter).
- In response to a fan asking how much he thinks Prince Fielder will sign for, MLB.com's Adam McCalvy writes that he doesn't think he will sign at all and will instead opt to hit the open market after the 2011 season (via Twitter).
- Jon Weisman of the Los Angeles Times writes that the Dodgers' rumored signing of Reed Johnson likely means that Ronnie Belliard will get the nod over Blake DeWitt at second base. Weisman's reasoning is that the roster, as it stands now, would feature an all right-handed bench without DeWitt's inclusion. Weisman wonders if this overload of righty sluggers means that the Dodgers will pursue another free agent backup outfielder.
The Cubs officially signed Xavier Nady to a one-year deal worth $3.3MM today. GM Jim Hendry was also considering Reed Johnson, Jonny Gomes and Jermaine Dye, but he settled on Nady, who could earn an extra $2MM in incentives tied to games played.
Nady is coming off his second Tommy John surgery, which is uncharted territory for an established everyday player. The 31-year-old appeared in just seven games in 2009, but he hit 25 homers the year before that, so you can see why the Cubs were intrigued.
Next up for Nady: proving he's healthy enough to deserve a big contract next winter. Next up for his agent, Scott Boras: find a home for Johnny Damon.
ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine first reported that the Cubs were close to adding an outfielder. Yahoo's Tim Brown reported that the deal was official and Jon Heyman of SI.com added the terms of the contract.
Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post.
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.
Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.
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.
- It appears that the Yankees added pitcher Zack Segovia on a minor league deal, writes Chad Jennings of The Journal News.
- Reed Johnson is still in the mix for the Cubs' fourth outfielder job, assistant GM Randy Bush told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.
- Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News passes along a comment from Giants GM Brian Sabean: someone will be designated for assignment to make room for Aubrey Huff. CSNBayArea.com's Mychael Urban says it won't be Fred Lewis, but Lewis is probably done with the Giants anyway.
- The Royals named former Brewers manager Ned Yost special advisor to baseball operations, according to a team press release.
- John Dewan of Baseball Info Solutions suggests the Red Sox could add eight or nine wins via their defensive improvements (hat tip to Alex Speier of WEEI). In an article for ESPN, Dave Cameron says the Red Sox "have traded on-base percentage for ultimate zone ratings."
- Rany Jazayerli says the Royals' move for Scott Podsednik "wasn't a good signing, but it's not worth getting worked up over either."
- Bernardo Fallas of the Houston Chronicle suggests Drayton McLane's $650MM asking price for the Astros "might make it difficult for him to find a buyer."
- Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues assesses possible Yankees target Xavier Nady.
- Jack Moore of FanGraphs likes the Ryan Church signing for the Pirates.
- MLB.com's Jordan Bastian writes that the Blue Jays signed pitcher Willie Collazo, infielder Jesus Merchan, and outfielder Jorge Padilla to minor league deals.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reiterates the Cubs' interest in Kiko Calero, but guesses the team's interest "is probably contingent" on the health of the reliever's shoulder.
- Brett Myers intends to "stick it" to the Phillies, according to the AP. How dare they pay him over $30MM and stick by him through domestic abuse charges.
Rounding up some news from around the majors on this Tuesday night....
- MLB.com's Jason Beck cites a report from an unnamed radio station which states the Tigers' offer to Jose Valverde is for two years. In another piece, Beck calls Detroit "the most logical destination" for Valverde.
- Brett Gardner has two backers (sort of) in Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News and ESPN's Keith Law. McCarron would like to see the Yankees acquire a "get-the-uniform-dirty type" but thinks Gardner should get "a real chance" to play every day. Law would let Gardner start the season because he feels that potential signings Reed Johnson or Xavier Nady are "marginal improvements that may not justify the cost."
- Jordan Bastian of MLB.com says the Blue Jays aren't thinking of moving Vernon Wells to a corner outfield spot in spite of Wells' declining UZR numbers in center. One factor might be that the Jays don't really have any other solid CF options, especially with Alex Rios no longer on the roster.
- C.J. Wilson is not a candidate to be traded despite the Rangers' signing of Darren Oliver, reports Ben Rogers of ESPNDallas.com.
- MLB.com's Jim Street says Miguel Tejada's asking price is too high for the Mariners to make a play for the free-agent infielder.
- Brian McTaggart of MLB.com passes along a report from Houston's KRIV-TV that Great Court Capital is the investment company negotiating to buy the Astros from Drayton McLane.
- Eric Hinske tells David O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Atlanta "really seemed like the best situation" out of the clubs who made him offers.
- Doug Miller of MLB.com provides a quick round-up of some of the remaining free agents on the market.
Both writers say Damon would have to greatly reduce his salary demands. According to Sherman, the Yankees are telling agents they have only $2MM to spend. Both writers also agree that Brian Cashman would have to lobby Hal Steinbrenner to expand the budget to accomodate Damon. Sherman says a July trade for Mike Cameron was scrapped because Hal would not approve a $5.5MM increase.
In the likely event the Yanks move on from Damon, Sherman ranks the team's targets: Xavier Nady, Reed Johnson, Rocco Baldelli, Jerry Hairston Jr., and Marcus Thames.
The Yankees finished most of their offseason shopping when they traded for Javier Vazquez and Curtis Granderson, then signed Nick Johnson as a free agent, but the one spot left on the team that warrants an upgrade is left field.
At the moment, Brett Gardner and Rule 5 Draft pick Jamie Hoffmann are scheduled to start the season in a defense-heavy platoon and hit ninth. GM Brian Cashman has indicated that the team is approaching it's 2010 payroll limit, and it appears they're only willing to spend about $5-6MM for an upgrade. This morning we learned that they're planning to wait out the free agent market before making any moves.
Looking at the list of available free agents, there appears to be plenty of second and third tier outfield options available. What do you think the Yankees should do about their left field situation? Should they stick with the Gardner/Hoffmann platoon, or bring in someone like Reed Johnson or Ryan Church or Rick Ankiel?