Ryan Dempster Rumors
1:52pm: Dan Haren's agreement with the Nationals takes another starting pitching option off the board for the Angels, who made an effort to bring back the right-hander after not tendering him a qualifying offer. According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter), the Angels made a one-year offer to Haren with a very achievable option year.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets that there was at least one other team in on Haren at around $13MM, suggesting that the price tag for free agent starters will be high this offseason. That isn't great news for the Angels, since the team appears to have a finite amount of money to spend on pitching, according to DiGiovanna (Twitter link). If the Angels go big on a starter, they'll have to scrimp on relievers, and vice versa, says DiGiovanna.
Although the Angels have checked in on virtually every free agent starting pitcher, including Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse, Edwin Jackson, Ryan Dempster, and Joe Saunders, Zack Greinke remains their first choice, tweets DiGiovanna.
Although there is mutual interest between Ryan Dempster and the Brewers, the two sides aren't near an agreement in part because of the number of years Dempster is seeking, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Haudricourt hears from agent Craig Landis that Dempster wants to sign for three years. The Brewers, on the other hand, prefer to go no more than two years on Dempster and other free agent arms.
Haudricourt writes that, even at age 35, Dempster is likely to land the three-year contract he's seeking because there aren't a ton of high-end starters available this winter. After seeing deals for pitchers like Jeff Suppan and Randy Wolf go south after a couple seasons, the Brewers are looking to avoid long-term commitments, despite their need for an established starter.
Last night, we heard that Dempster was one of the Brewers' top free agent targets, with teams like the Diamondbacks and Twins also likely to be in the mix for the right-hander.
The Mariners are looking for offense and are "in on everybody", a rival GM tells Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. That includes big fish like Josh Hamilton and Justin Upton and they're also considering Mike Napoli and Nick Swisher. Cody Ross, Ryan Ludwick, and Mark Reynolds may also be fits in Seattle. More from around baseball..
- Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino confirmed to Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (via Twitter) that the club hopes to sign Mike Napoli, though it has to be on a three-year deal, not a four-year deal. Lucchino added that the club is in on Hamilton (Twitter link) but they won't go to six, seven, or eight years to make it happen. It has been well documented that the Red Sox are leery of long-term deals as they look to spend responsibly going forward.
- Asdrubal Cabrera has a six-team no-trade clause allowing him to block trades to the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Nationals, Giants, Mets, a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The Indians have reportedly set the bar high in their demands for Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo.
- Zack Greinke's agent Casey Close told Heyman (via Twitter) that he'll know in the next 24-48 hours if a deal can get done in Nashville. Close added that nothing is close for his client just yet. Meanwhile, Braves GM Frank Wren says that it's "probably unlikely" that he will sign Greinke (Twitter link).
- The market for Ryan Dempster may develop more this week with the Brewers, Diamondbacks, and Twins in the mix, Morosi tweets. Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (via Twitter) classifies Dempster as the Brewers' top free agent target.
- One source tells Bill Ladson of MLB.com that he wouldn't rule out the Nationals trading for a pitcher like James Shields of the Rays. The Nats could potentially use Mike Morse in a deal for Shields as the Rays are in need of offense.
Here's a look at some news out of the AL and NL West..
- The Dodgers are letting teams know that shortstop Dee Gordon is available, tweets Bob Nightengale of the USA Today. Gordon could represent a fallback option for teams who lose out on Stephen Drew. Earlier today, we learned five teams are in on Drew.
- The Giants are looking for a center fielder and are talking to Michael Bourn, Angel Pagan, and Shane Victorino, tweets CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman.
- The Angels are aren't acting like they're confident of landing Zack Greinke, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. The Angels seem to be trolling for much cheaper starting pitching options like Ryan Dempster and Shaun Marcum, as opposed to Anibal Sanchez and Kyle Lohse.
- The Dodgers' shopping list includes Greinke, a fourth outfielder that can play center, and a backup corner infielder, according to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. Gurnick also says negotiations continue with lefty reliever Randy Choate.
- Padres GM Josh Byrnes doesn't expect to be very busy during the Winter Meetings, reports Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. "I expect to do one thing, maybe two," said Byrnes. "I’m not expecting to do a lot. We’re filling the holes, not roster reshaping." The Padres are looking for starting pitching and have depth at the corner outfield slots, in the bullpen, and at middle infield. The names most often mentioned as possible trade chips, according to Center, are Luke Gregerson, Joe Thatcher, and Jesus Guzman.
- The Rangers are interested in talking with the Mets about R.A. Dickey at the Winter Meetings this week, a source tells T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. The Rangers aren't alone in having interest in the knuckleballer as the Mets have taken calls from six or seven teams looking to swing a trade. The Mets are expected to look for outfield help and catching in a deal.
- The Rockies are considering a run at left-hander Daniel Schlereth as they look to improve their bullpen, according to Thomas Harding of MLB.com. The 26-year-old became a free agent this week when he was non-tendered by the Tigers.
- The Rockies are looking to restore their rotation, but not rebuild it entirely, writes Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post. The club will look to bolster their starting five with a veteran presence and they are known to have interest in free agent right-hander Kevin Correia.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
Several player agents tell Larry Stone of the Seattle Times that the Mariners' chances of attracting free agent hitters have improved now that Safeco Field's fences are being moved in. That said, while the shorter fences will help, "players look at all of those factors, but in the end, it still comes down to where they can get the best contract. And it always will," one agent says.
Here are some items from a very busy day in baseball....
- The Dodgers met with Zack Greinke on Thursday, tweets Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports.
- In an interview with 1500 ESPN Twin Cities radio (via Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN), Twins assistant GM Rob Antony said his team will likely pursue free agents over trades at the Winter Meetings. "We probably don't have a lot of pieces that we do have to trade for starting pitching [with Denard Span now gone]," Antony said. "We'll probably be a little more aggressive and spend our time at the winter meetings talking to agents rather than clubs."
- Russell Martin said the Yankees told him they didn't have the money available to match Pittsburgh's two-year/$17MM offer, reports David Waldstein of the New York Times. The Yankees didn't make Martin an offer and have yet to make any offers to position players this offseason, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (both links are to Twitter).
- The Yankees aren't likely to pursue either A.J. Pierzynski or Mike Napoli, reports Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York.
- The Pirates considered pursuing Napoli but didn't think he could stay healthy and effective as a full-time catcher in the NL, reports Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- The Royals offered Ryan Dempster a two-year, $26MM contract but are no longer bidding on the Canadian right-hander now that his price tag has risen, reports Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. At least six teams besides Kansas City have been connected to Dempster this offseason.
- Also from Dutton, the Royals offered Scott Feldman a one-year, $4.5MM deal before the righty agreed to a one-year, $6MM contract with the Cubs earlier this week.
- MLB.com's John Schlegel lists 10 potential bargain signings on the free agent market.
- The week's minor league transactions are recapped by Matt Eddy of Baseball America.
- Orioles GM Dan Duquette tells MASNsports.com's Mel Antonen (Twitter link) that negotiations with Nate McLouth and Joe Saunders have been a "little slow" to develop.
The Angels could shift their focus away from top free agent starting pitching and pursue relief depth if Zack Greinke’s asking price increases beyond their limit, Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times reports. Adding Japanese right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa to the bullpen might provide the Angels with enough depth to avoid spending on Greinke and other free agents whose asking prices could increase when Greinke signs.
The Angels are one of the top suitors for Greinke, along with the Dodgers, Nationals and Rangers, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio reports (all Twitter links). However, the Angels haven’t made a play on Anibal Sanchez or Kyle Lohse, according to Bowden. The Angels, Rangers, Red Sox and White Sox are among the teams in play for free agent reliever Mike Adams, Bowden reports.
Dempster, 35, posted a 3.38 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 43.5% ground ball rate in 173 innings for the Cubs and Rangers in 2012. The 15-year veteran saw his average fastball velocity dip below 90 mph, but he continued generating swings and misses. His 10.4% swinging strike rate was right around his career mark of 10.8%. LSW Baseball represents Dempster, who has also been linked to the Dodgers, Twins and Cubs this offseason.
5:12pm: The Dodgers "are not in" on Kuroda, an industry source tells Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). Feinsand adds that the Angels appear to be out of the running for Kuroda as well.
4:00pm: The Yankees are seen as the favorites to sign free agent starter Hiroki Kuroda, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. In fact the Yankees are "very confident" they'll sign Kuroda, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. Stark suggests Kuroda will pitch for the Yankees if he's pitching in MLB next year. However, Heyman reports that the Yankees sense a threat from Japan, where Kuroda pitched before joining MLB.
The Dodgers, Angels and Red Sox have also expressed interest in Kuroda, who is linked to draft pick compensation after declining a qualifying offer from the Yankees. It appears the Dodgers and Angels are shifting their focus elsewhere, Stark writes. The Dodgers are now pursuing Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, Ryan Dempster and others, according to Stark. The Angels are also targeting Greinke.
Here's the latest from Bob Nightengale of USA Today...
- The Dodgers are "aggressively pursuing" Torii Hunter according to a team executive. GM Ned Colletti wouldn't confirm the team's interest, but he did say that he did not have any trade talks about Andre Ethier during the GM Meetings this week.
- The Dodgers will have meetings early next week to formulate a plan that involves signing Hunter and acquiring a frontline starter. They've already spoken to representatives for Zack Greinke and Anibal Sanchez, but are out on Ryan Dempster.
- The Rangers tried to acquire Andrelton Simmons from the Braves so they could flip him to the Diamondbacks in a deal for Justin Upton. Arizona wants a young shortstop, but Texas is loath to give up Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar. Atlanta wouldn't budge, however.
Here's the latest on the Twins from Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN...
- So far, the Twins have reached out to free agents Brandon McCarthy, Anibal Sanchez, Joe Blanton, Ryan Dempster, and Brett Myers. They're interested in Myers as a starter. They've also reached out to Brandon Webb even though he hasn't thrown a pitch in the big leagues since 2009.
- The club continues to have regular conversations with Alan Nero, who represents right-hander Scott Baker. The two sides are working on a new contract after Baker's $9.25MM option was declined.
- The Twins have not shown any interest in Jon Garland and were not present when the right-hander threw for teams during an audition back in September.
- Talks with reliever Jared Burton about a contract extension are underway. Matt Swartz projects a $2.1MM salary for the right-hander next season, after which he'll become a free agent.
- The Twins have inquired about reliever Randy Messenger, though the Hanshin Tigers in Japan will not allow the right-hander out of his contract.
- The team has not contacted Bill Bray after he hit free agency. Special assistant Wayne Krivsky acquired the left-hander during his tenure as Reds GM.