Russell Martin Rumors
Free agent catcher Russell Martin is receiving significant interest from the Pirates and Mariners, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Yankees remain the favorites to sign Martin, but it appears that they'll have to duke it out with the Bucs and M's in addition to the Rangers.
Interest from the Pirates and Mariners makes sense as Pittsburgh has a glaring need at the position while the Mariners are looking for offense at a variety of spots, including catcher. The Mariners have Jesus Montero and John Jaso, but Montero is likely to see more time at DH next season.
Rosenthal writes that the Rangers in particular pose a significant threat to the cost-conscious Yankees who are looking to get under the $189MM luxury tax threshold by 2014. However, the Bombers might be willing to stretch for Martin if it requires about $2MM more than they would like to spend.
The latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com...
- The Yankees and Russell Martin are discussing a new contract, though Martin appears to be talking to at least one other team. Talks involving the free agent catcher are “heating up,” according to Heyman. The Yankees made progress with Martin over the weekend, though the sides were apart on dollars several days ago. The Rangers have Martin on their list and other teams, such as the Pirates, Mariners and White Sox, are considering catchers.
- The Yankees are confident they can re-sign Ichiro Suzuki, Heyman reports. The Yankees expect to reach a deal with the free agent outfielder, who has said he hopes to return to New York.
- The Red Sox, Braves and Giants appear to be looking at Nick Swisher, Heyman reports. The market for Swisher seems strong enough for him to obtain a deal of at least four years and executives see the outfielder signing for $12-14MM per season. The Red Sox like Swisher’s versatility since they have openings at first base and in the outfield. Meanwhile, the Braves and Giants are also looking for corner outfield help.
On this date in 1957, Yankees outfielder Mickey Mantle won the AL MVP, narrowly edging out Ted Williams of the Red Sox for the award. Williams had superior numbers on a per at bat basis, but Mantle played in more games, had more wins above replacement and the Yankees won the pennant. Here are today's AL East links...
- The Orioles acquired Trayvon Robinson for Robert Andino because Robinson is more affordable and the O's already have lots of options at second base, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun writes. However, if the out of options Robinson doesn't make the team out of Spring Training, expect executive VP Dan Duquette to move on.
- The Yankees haven't made Russell Martin a contract offer yet, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. In fact the Yankees haven't made offers to any free agents, including Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera. King's sources suggest Martin can command three years at $8-10MM per season as a free agent.
- ESPN.com’s Buster Olney discussed the Orioles and Red Sox earlier today. Here’s MLBTR’s look at the highlights from Olney’s piece.
- You can read about the offseason outlook for each AL East team here.
- It appears A.J. Pierzynski will play for a team other than the White Sox in 2013, Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports. While the sides are both interested in working out a new free agent contract, factors such as payroll space, timing and Tyler Flowers could mean Pierzynski signs elsewhere.
- The Rangers are considering Russell Martin, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports (Twitter links). With Napoli on the open market, the Rangers are looking to free agency for potential replacements. Rival executives expect the Rangers to non-tender Geovany Soto, Olney reports. Back in August I explained why Soto could be non-tendered this offseason.
- Check out MLBTR’s Free Agent Tracker for a detailed look at available catchers.
The latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com..
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman doesn't expect Hiroki Kuroda or Nick Swisher to accept their qualifying offers, Heyman tweets. We learned last night that Rafael Soriano will reject his as well, but the sides are still talking (Twitter link).
- Even though the Giants have been getting calls on Brandon Belt, they won't be trading him, according to Heyman (via Twitter). The club's current goals are to goals are to re-sign Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro while fortifying their bullpen. That includes retaining Jeremy Affeldt, if they can.
- The Red Sox don't see Zack Greinke as a fit for Boston but they are still thinking a bit about Josh Hamilton, Heyman tweets. It remains unlikely that the Red Sox will go for the free agent slugger, however. Earlier today, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wrote that the Phillies could be one surprise suitor for Hamilton.
- The Mariners have reached out to catchers Russell Martin and Mike Napoli, tweets Heyman. Heyman adds that General Manager Jack Zduriencik is also looking at corner outfield bats. Nick Swisher is one corner bat that the Mariners are considering, Heyman tweets.
- The Giants have been getting lots of calls on Brandon Belt, according to Heyman (via Twitter). Belt comes with solid upside and quality defense and is not yet arbitration-eligible.
Though it can be argued that misses in free agency were the cause of Boston's disastrous 2012 season, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald thinks that shrewd free agent signings could help the team quickly return to prominence. Here's the latest from Fenway Park...
- The team has "shown only preliminary interest" in Ryan Dempster, reports Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald (Twitter link). Lauber notes that the Sox also didn't make a major push for Dempster at the trade deadline, though that could have been because they already considered the season lost.
- Red Sox officials were "seen meeting on" free agent catcher Russell Martin at the GM meetings, tweets CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. Signing Martin "might require more moves" for Boston, given the presence of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway behind the plate.
- Though the Diamondbacks are said to be looking for a third baseman, shortstop or starter in a Justin Upton trade and the Red Sox have several young players at those positions, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe doesn't think the Red Sox would part with any of their young core at this time.
- “Just because the Red Sox are coming off one losing season, I don’t lump them in with the non-contenders,” one player agent tells Scott Lauber. “Knowing what we know about the Red Sox, the market they play in, they’ll be back in the fray.” Another agent, however, predicts that veterans pursuing short-term deals on World Series contenders (such as Boston targets like Hiroki Kuroda or Torii Hunter) might avoid the Red Sox since the club doesn't look like it will turn things around by next season.
- GM Ben Cherington said the team is focusing on other needs besides at shortstop, reports Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. This would seem to indicate that the position is Jose Iglesias' to lose, though Abraham predicts the Sox will sign a veteran backup at short.
- Assistant GM Mike Hazen discussed Boston's young talent, the idea of trading prospects for established stars and other topics in a radio interview on WEEI's Red Sox Hot Stove Show. WEEI.com's Alex Speier has the partial transcript.
Jeremy Bonderman hasn’t pitched at the MLB level since 2010, but he’s ready to return to the big leagues, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports. Bonderman lost 35 pounds and his arm feels good following reconstructive elbow surgery. He’ll be ready to throw for teams by January and hopes to sign a minor league contract with an invitation to MLB Spring Training. Here are more of Olney’s notes from around MLB...
- Teams checked in about the availability of Brian McCann before the Braves exercised his $12MM option for 2013, Olney reports. The Braves would have wanted a decent return in a trade, but other teams were looking to acquire the catcher cheaply.
- Some Atlanta executives are realistic about their chances of signing Michael Bourn. It doesn’t look like the center fielder will re-sign with the Braves.
- Many executives assume the potential trade that would have sent Dan Haren to the Cubs blew up because of health issues, Olney writes. This means CAA Sports, the agency that represents Haren, will have to convince teams that the free agent right-hander is healthy.
- The Yankees like Russell Martin a lot, but won’t overpay to keep him, Olney writes.
Here's the latest from FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal as he dissects the buzz and rumors currently circulating around the league...
- The addition of two former members from the Rays organization has nothing to do with a potential pursuit of center fielder B.J. Upton, says Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr.
- While some teams may prefer Upton over Michael Bourn thanks to his age (nearly two years younger) and the ability to hit for power, Rosenthal points out that Bourn's value comes from being a well-rounded player.
- Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche's decision regarding his free agency may greatly impact Washington's course of action this offseason, especially with left fielder Michael Morse.
- The notion that the Dodgers may consider moving Andre Ethier just months after signing him to a five-year, $85MM contract simply wouldn't be the best move for Los Angeles heading into 2013, opines Rosenthal.
- Look for the Yankees to re-sign Russell Martin, but the Bombers have had their eye on free agent David Ross, who has served as Brian McCann's backup with the Braves since 2009.
- The Cardinals and second baseman Skip Schumaker may be parting ways this offseason as the veteran no longer has a defined role with the club thanks to the emergence of young talent.
Links from around MLB on the day teams must decide whether to make qualifying offers to departing free agents...
- The Yankees like Russell Martin very much and are hoping to re-sign him as a free agent this offseason, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. The Pirates, Rangers and Mariners could all spend on catching this offseason. While the Mets need catching, they seem likely to pursue trades in Heyman’s view.
- Agent Scott Boras said there’s no chance of Rick Ankiel returning to the mound, Yahoo’s Tim Brown reports (on Twitter). “He's not pitching," Boras said. It was reported yesterday that Ankiel might be open to pitching again.
- The White Sox announced that they promoted former MLB manager and player Buddy Bell to the role of vice president/assistant GM. Bell, 61, played from 1972-88, then managed the Tigers, Rockies and Royals.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs provides a guide to the top 25 values available in free agency this offseason, complete with a look at five players teams might want to avoid. Within the piece, which is well worth your time, Cameron explains that Delmon Young has essentially become a platoon bat, and argues that Maicer Izturis could bounce back in 2013. Be sure to check out MLBTR’s list of the offseason’s top 50 free agents if you haven't done so already.
The Yankees are considering a defensive change for next season, shifting Curtis Granderson to left field and Brett Gardner to center, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Granderson's defense has declined in recent years, as he has posted negative UZR/150 ratings in four of the last five years, including a -18.2 UZR/150 in 2012. Gardner, on the other hand, has a career 30.6 UZR/150, ranking him amongst the best defensive outfielders in the game.
Here's the latest from both the Yankees and Mets...
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman doesn't plan to offer Rafael Soriano a deal similar to the one he signed after the 2010 season that established Soriano as Mariano Rivera's set-up man and understudy at closer, reports ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews. "I don't think Soriano would sign here if he's not going to be the closer," Cashman said. "And I don't think we would do again what we did before. He's going to want closer money and I doubt he would want to come back here as a set-up man." Soriano is a free agent after opting out of the last year of his deal, and agent Scott Boras said Soriano is looking for a four-year contract to close. Soriano could still return to the Bronx, of course, if Rivera retires and the Bombers suddenly have a hole at the back of their bullpen.
- Also from Matthews, he reports that the Yankees will make qualifying offers to Nick Swisher and Hiroki Kuroda. Swisher will almost surely turn this offer down but Kuroda "might accept it." The Yankees have interest in bringing back Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez on short-term contracts, while the club also would like to re-sign Andy Pettitte and Russell Martin.
- The Yankees haven't received any calls from teams interested in Alex Rodriguez, reports USA Today's Bob Nightengale. It could be a moot point, as Nightengale hears that Rodriguez isn't willing to waive his no-trade clause for any team.
- The Mets are continuing to talk to David Wright about a multiyear extension but talks are "stuck in neutral" and there is "nothing imminent" between the two sides, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post and Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger (both links to Twitter).
- ESPN's Jim Bowden believes Wright and the Mets will agree to a new long-term contract, but if they can't, Bowden suggests five teams who could become trade destinations for Wright.