Reed Johnson Rumors
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?
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.
In his blog post this morning, ESPN's Buster Olney notes that evaluators are split on Aroldis Chapman, as some see him as once in a generation talent, while others see extreme risk because of control and makeup concerns. "Where was Randy Johnson when he was that age?" asked one scout, and the answer is in A-ball walking 94 batters in 119.2 innings.
Here's the latest on Chapman, and here are the rest of Olney's rumors...
- Olney hears that if Oakland doesn't commit to a new ballpark for the Athletics, that commissioner Bud Selig will step in and negotiate a lucrative territorial rights deal with the Giants, similar to what happened with the Orioles when the Nationals moved into town. That could result in the A's getting their long desired San Jose stadium.
- The Yankees are in no big rush to sign a righty hitting left fielder, and are content to let the market for guys like Reed Johnson and Jonny Gomes play out. Last night we learned that the team had interest in bringing Jerry Hairston Jr. back.
- The Marlins continue to scour the free agent market for a closer, however Jose Valverde is too expensive and they aren't expected to bring back Kevin Gregg.
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 Hundley. Mike 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.