Ryan Ludwick Rumors

Quick Hits: Giants, Hairston, Indians, Ellsbury, Pavano

While we wait to see whether any major moves will be finalized in Nashville today, let's check out a few odds and ends from Wednesday morning….

  • After signing Marco Scutaro to a three-year deal, the Giants may have a hard time affording the sort of outfield bat they'd been targeting, tweets Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. According to Baggarly, the Giants had a two-year offer out to Ryan Ludwick, but both Ludwick and Scott Hairston may be too pricey for them now.
  • Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported earlier today that Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera are "very available," but a rival official tells ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Twitter link) that "the price for Choo is high, and for Asdrubal even higher."
  • Most baseball people in Nashville believe it will be hard for teams to seriously consider dealing for Jacoby Ellsbury when they have no idea whether they'll be able to keep him long-term, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Olney adds in a tweet that while the Red Sox are listening to offers for Ellsbury and Jon Lester, they aren't motivated to move either player unless a team overpays.
  • Although the Marlins spoke to Carl Pavano's agent yesterday, the team doesn't seem overly enthusiastic about a reunion with the right-hander, says Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post.

NL Rumors: Stanton, Swisher, Mets, Dodgers, Cubs

Between the Mets' R.A. Dickey trade talks and the Nationals' signing of Dan Haren, much of today's major news has come out of the National League. Here are a few more updates from across the Senior Circuit….

  • Although the Marlins have no intention of trading Giancarlo Stanton, that certainly hasn't stopped teams from calling to ask about him, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. "It would be easier to list who hasn't called," a source close to the Marlins told Knobler.
  • With Angel Pagan locked up, the Giants have turned their attention to corner outfielders, and have spoken to Nick Swisher's reps, says Ken Davidoff of the New York Post (on Twitter). However, the team will likely target a more affordable option — perhaps Ryan Ludwick or Scott Hairston.
  • The Mets, in their search for veteran left-handers for the bullpen, have inquired on Manny Parra, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter).
  • The Dodgers are shopping for a shortstop or third baseman to pair with Hanley Ramirez on the left side of the infield, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, adding that the team's approach at this point appears to involve pursuing an All-Star at every position.
  • In addition to a center fielder, the Phillies also need a right fielder and a third baseman, though they likely won't be able to afford both, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. tells Jayson Stark of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • Yuniesky Betancourt is among the third base options being considered by the Cubs, writes Carrie Muskat at MLB.com.

Free Agent Rumors: Lannan, Escobar, Youkilis, Drew

With plenty of rumors flying around the lobby of the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, we're making sure we don't let anything slip through the cracks. Here are a few morning updates from around the league on some of this winter's free agents:

  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Mets have displayed interest in the recently non-tendered John Lannan, perhaps as insurance if the team trades a starter.
  • Although he hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2009, Kelvim Escobar is healthy in winter ball and is drawing interest at the Winter Meetings, tweets ESPN.com's Buster Olney.

Earlier updates:

  • The Yankees have spoken with Kevin Youkilis' agent, reports Jack Curry of the YES Network (Twitter link). According to Curry, Youkilis would consider a one-year deal if the salary was at a "premium amount."
  • The Mariners are interested in free agent outfielder Nate McLouth, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
  • A rival evaluator tells ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Twitter link) that there's "no way" Stephen Drew would sign with the Yankees to be a part-time or utility player. Drew is seeking a full-time job.
  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington acknowledged that giving up a draft pick to sign Nick Swisher would be a factor in Boston's pursuit of the outfielder (link via Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com).
  • Mike Silverman of the Boston Herald hears that the Red Sox still have a chance in the Josh Hamilton sweepstakes, but it's a long shot (Twitter link).
  • After getting a clean bill of health on his hand and wrist, Ian Stewart has drawn wide interest from teams looking for third base help, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Tyler Kepner of the New York Times notes (via Twitter) that Stewart could be a fit for the Yankees.
  • Within his latest piece for the New York Post, Ken Davidoff hears that the Mets and Ryan Ludwick are an unlikely match, and wonders if Nick Swisher could end up with the Mariners.
  • The Reds will meet with Ludwick's agent this morning, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The veteran outfielder could accept the offer on the table from Cincinnati, though Fay speculates that the Reds are offering two years and Ludwick wants three. A two-year deal with a third-year option might work for both sides, says Fay.
  • The Athletics will meet with the reps for Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima today, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
  • The Dodgers, Giants, Brewers, Angels, and Rays are among the teams that have inquired on free agent reliever Mark Lowe, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
  • Scott Kazmir, who is throwing 90-94 mph in Puerto Rico, is drawing interest from a host of teams and could choose from a handful of offers soon, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. However, the Mets aren't in the mix for the lefty, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.


Free Agent Rumors: Oswalt, Delmon, Sizemore, Ross, Ludwick

Here's the latest from the Winter Meetings on a handful of free agents:

Earlier updates:


Quick Hits: Simmons, Upton, Braves, Reds, Astros

The third episode of Rosters and Rumblings, the new podcast featuring MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith and Jason Martinez of MLB Depth Charts, was recorded today. Check out the podcast for discussion of the non-tender deadline, the David Wright extension and the Russell Martin signing. Here's the latest from around the league…


Mets Notes: Pagan, Flores, Wright

The latest on the Mets, who have agreed to terms with David Wright on a long-term deal and are considering an extension for R.A. Dickey

  • A Mets insider told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that the team will likely spend on one outfielder. It’s even too early to rule out a return for Angel Pagan, not that a reunion seems likely. Ryan Ludwick and Cody Ross are among the right-handed hitting free agent outfielders who could draw interest from the Mets, Rubin writes.
  • The Mets have also made a list of backup catchers they might target, according to Rubin. Nationals catcher Jesus Flores, a non-tender candidate with a projected salary of $1.2MM, is among the catchers on the team’s list.
  • The Mets will likely address their needs via free agency, team insiders told Rubin.
  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post heard that it was “vital” that Wright’s contract with the Mets surpass Johan Santana’s $137.5MM contract in terms of total value (Twitter link). Wright's eight-year deal will pay him $138MM in total.
  • Dave Cameron of FanGraphs  applauds the Mets for not giving up on the team in the short term.

Reds Notes: Span, Latos, Bailey, Ludwick

With B.J. Upton now a Brave and Denard Span now a National, the Reds' outfield/leadoff hitter options are thinning out, writes MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.  The Reds tried to acquire Span from the Twins at last year's trade deadline, though Sheldon hadn't heard anything about the Reds continuing their pursuit for Span this winter.  Sheldon believes Michael Bourn and Angel Pagan are too expensive for the Reds and Shane Victorino may be as well, though Cincinnati is one of at least seven teams who have shown interest in Victorino's services.

Here are some more items about of the Queen City…

  • In a separate piece from Sheldon, the Reds' recent history of locking up young players before free agency makes Mat Latos and Homer Bailey seem like extension candidates this winter.  In his recent look at Cincinnati's arb-eligible players, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noted that Bailey's injury history may keep the Reds from pursuing a multiyear deal with the righty, while Latos could receive a five-year, $60MM extension, though predicting a new Latos deal is difficult due to a lack of comparables.
  • Dustin Bledsoe, Latos' agent, tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that the Reds have yet to approach his client about an extension.
  • Also from Fay, he hears from agent Dan Horwits that the Reds have "been in contact" with his client Ryan Ludwick about a possible return to Cincinnati.  "There’s interest on both sides. Hopefully, we can [get] something done. We’re talking to other clubs. He has offers from other clubs,” Horwits said.

Free Agent Faceoff: Ryan Ludwick vs. Cody Ross

Power-hitting corner outfielders are always in demand, but not every team has the pockets deep enough to make a run at Josh Hamilton or even Nick Swisher. The lower price tag on more affordable names like Ryan Ludwick and Cody Ross leads to plenty of interest from teams looking for a boost in the outfield.

Ludwick, 34, produced a robust .275/.346/.531 triple slash line with 26 homers in 2012 — his first season with the Reds. While he was better at home in his hitter-friendly ballpark and against left-handed pitching, Ludwick managed to crack an .850 OPS both on the road and against right-handed pitching. In short, he hit regardless of the situation he was in. However, he totaled his fewest plate appearances since 2008 and provided negative value on defense according to UZR. He'll also turn 35 next July.

Ross won't turn 32 until December, and he enjoyed a strong season in his own right. He hit .267/.326/.481 with 22 home runs in 2012 — also his first season with a new team (the Red Sox). Ross carried a noticeable home-road split (.921 home OPS; .684 away) and a significant left-right split as well (1.010 OPS vs. lefties; .729 vs. righties). Ross, however, appeared at all three outfield positions for the Red Sox and graded out strongly in right field according to UZR/150 (+6.3 runs).

Each has likely positioned himself for a multiyear deal. And, while each is drawing interest from his former club, other teams around the league surely are considering the services of both Ludwick and Ross.


NL Notes: LaRoche, Phillies, Reds, Cardinals

Today is the 63rd anniversary of Jackie Robinson becoming the first African-American player to win the MVP Award. This would be the only such honor during Robinson's Hall of Fame career. Here's the latest news from the Senior Circuit:

  • Negotiations between the Nationals and Adam LaRoche are going slowly, a source tells MLB.com's Bill Ladson. The source also says LaRoche's top priority is to return to the Nationals, but the free agent first baseman is thinking about his two children, which is why he wants a three-year deal and has talked with several teams. 
  • A five-year, $75MM contract might be accurate for B.J. Upton but expect Michael Bourn to seek more, tweets Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • Despite the declining influence of home runs to change a game, as typified by the Giants winning the World Series after slugging the fewest home runs in baseball, the Phillies still need a power surge in 2013, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Bob Brookover.
  • Centerfield is one position where the Phillies could seek to boost their power output. ESPN's Buster Olney breaks down their various centerfield options in his latest Insiders-only blog.
  • John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer sees the Reds' 2013 payroll being $92MM, but a team insider tells him the actual number could start with an eight. This would make it difficult, in Fay's opinion, to do anything in free agency except sign a closer or re-sign Ryan Ludwick.
  • Within the same piece, GM Walt Jocketty says he will wait until after Thanksgiving to speak with Scott Rolen, who is contemplating retirement.
  • The Cardinals' needs are simple for 2013, writes Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The team needs to reinforce a thin bench by adding some right-handed power and find a fourth outfielder who can generate some offense. Miklasz adds the health of shortstop Rafael Furcal is also a significant question.
  • Blessed with the deepest of pockets, the Dodgers' desire to pursue an elite starting pitcher reveals myriad ways the team can approach the process, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. Common sense, however, may still prevail at Chavez Ravine as Dodgers controlling partner Mark Walter once eloquently stated, "Pitchers break." 

Daniel Seco contributed to this post.


Jocketty Discusses Reds Offseason Rumors

Reds GM Walt Jocketty spoke to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer about some of the free agent names connected to his club this winter…

  • The Reds' first priority is trying to find a leadoff hitter, though Jocketty said that Michael Bourn is too expensive for his club and the same could be true about Angel Pagan.  Jocketty said that the team hasn't contacted Pagan yet and "not that we wouldn’t but I wonder about the money.”
  • Jocketty confirmed that the Reds have talked to Jonathan Broxton and Ryan Madson about returning to Cincinnati, while the team has also spoke to free agent Joakim Soria.  Broxton is the only one of the trio who would be able to pitch on Opening Day, as Madson and Soria are both recovering from Tommy John surgery.  The Reds are likely one of the eight contenders who Soria's agent, Oscar Suarez, says has shown interest in his client.
  • The Reds talked to Torii Hunter's agent "but the money was too much," Jocketty said.  The general manager doubted that Hunter's two-year, $26MM contract with the Tigers would impact Ryan Ludwick's price since "they're different kind(s) of players."  The Reds have had "preliminary" talks with Ludwick about a new deal.
  • Jocketty told FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi last week that the Reds could deal one of their shortstops (Zack Cozart and Didi Gregorius) if the right deal came along, but Jocketty said that neither player is being shopped.  "We’re not taking offers,” Jocketty said. “That gets out and then we have to call Cozart and call Didi.”
  • The Reds have no plans to extend Jay Bruce's contract.  "We control him for five more years,” Jocketty said. “It’s so far off. It’s something we haven’t talked about.”  Matt Sosnick, Bruce's agent, raised the possibility of an extension beyond 2016 for his client earlier today.