Ryan Dempster Rumors
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has another batch of news items out of the general managers' meetings in Indian Wells, California...
- While the Rays have the pitching depth to move two of their starters, they're likely to move just one of their pitchers. David Price and James Shields are the biggest trade chips, though most in the industry feel Tampa Bay will keep both aces to make a play for the AL East title in 2013. There is "no chance" Price is dealt this winter, one rival executive tells Rosenthal, though Price could be moved next offseason.
- The Brewers are interested in free agent right-hander Ryan Dempster.
- The Mets' willingness to trade R.A. Dickey is seen by "many in the industry" as a tactic to get Dickey to accept a club-friendly extension, which Rosenthal thinks is a flawed strategy.
- Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima is now a free agent who can sign with Major League teams without going through the posting process. Rosenthal says the shortstop-needy Diamondbacks and Athletics are "at least mildly intrigued" by Nakajima and the Giants could also pursue Nakajima as a second baseman if they can't re-sign Marco Scutaro. The Yankees won the right to negotiate with Nakajima last winter after submitting a winning posting bid of $2MM, but Nakajima couldn't come to terms with New York and he re-signed with the Seibu Lions. The 30-year-old Nakajima has a .310/.381/.474 batting line and 104 homers over the last six years with Seibu.
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.
The Blue Jays are casting a wide net in their search for pitching, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. They have already shown interest in Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse, and Ryan Dempster, among others.
Toronto is also one of several clubs to inquire about Scott Baker, joining the Red Sox, Cubs, and Rangers. The Twins recently declined the right-hander's option but hope to sign him to a new deal. The Blue Jays have made no secret of their goal to add pitching this offseason, either through trades or free agency. Free agents can begin signing with new teams tomorrow morning.
It was on this day in 1962 that Joe Morgan signed his first pro contract, joining the Houston Colt .45s as an amateur free agent. Morgan spent his first nine seasons in Houston before being traded to the Reds and establishing himself as arguably the best second baseman in baseball history.
Here's the latest from the NL Central...
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer confirmed to ESPN Chicago's Doug Padilla that the team had made "contact and it was preliminary" with Ryan Dempster, though Hoyer was quick to minimize the importance of the meeting, saying "it was sort of a bump-into thing." It was reported earlier today by MLB.com's Carrie Muskat that the Cubs had been in touch with Dempster's agent.
- "We’ve got the connection with (hitting coach) Johnny Narron but we don’t have the connection with U.S. Bank,” Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the chances of the Brewers splurging on Josh Hamilton this winter. Melvin noted that he would like to acquire relief pitching this offseason but was wary given the rising prices of quality bullpen arms.
- Also from Haudricourt, he hears from Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash that the club has no plans to re-sign either right-hander Jose Veras or outfielder Nyjer Morgan, both of whom were outrighted off Milwaukee's 40-man roster over the last two days.
- The Cardinals have signed 16-year-old Dominican outfielder Henry Alvarado to a $150K contract, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America. Alvarado is described as being best suited to left field or possibly first base, and he "stands out for his righthanded bat, sound approach and occasional power."
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out Tim Dierkes’ list of the top 50 free agents for the upcoming offseason. The list includes Tim’s predictions for each player, and we’d like you to join us in predicting the destinations for the top 50 free agents. You can make your picks here. Now for this afternoon’s links...
- Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch hears Rick Ankiel is open to giving pitching another shot. The Cardinals could be among the teams willing to give Ankiel another chance on the mound. Ankiel pitched for the Cardinals from 1999-2004, putting together a strong season as a 20-year-old in 2000. He returned to the big leagues as a hitter in 2007.
- The Cubs have been in contact with Ryan Dempster’s agent about the possibility of a contract, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). The Cubs traded the LSW baseball client to the Rangers midseason and he’s now a free agent (he can't sign with a team other than Texas until Saturday).
- Catcher J.R. Towles left Hendricks Sports for agent Burton Rocks, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Our Agency Database has current information on the agents of most MLB players.
- Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com hears word that Michael Bourn could be looking for as much as $100MM in free agency. The Phillies would probably be reluctant to spend that kind of money on a 30-year-old player who relies heavily on his legs, Salisbury writes.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports previews the destinations for a number of the offseason’s top free agents.
Now that they have sent John Farrell to Boston, the Blue Jays are looking for a new manager. In an article at the Globe and Mail, Jeff Blair suggests this might be “the most important managerial hire in club history.” Blair argues that the Blue Jays should consider former catchers such as Sandy Alomar Jr. and Don Wakamatsu. Here are the latest Blue Jays-related links...
- The Blue Jays obtained permission from the Diamondbacks to speak to third base coach Matt Williams about their managerial opening, Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com reports (on Twitter). Williams has also drawn interest from the Rockies.
- Free agent starters Ryan Dempster and Edwin Jackson are targets for Toronto, Blair reports. Either right-hander would provide the Blue Jays with some certainty in the middle of a rotation that struggled mightily in 2012 due to injuries and poor performances. Free agents can only sign with their own teams until Saturday.
The Milwaukee Brewers experienced a roller coaster season in 2012 marked by injuries, blown saves, and being 12 games under .500 on August 20 before embarking on a 24-6 run that boosted them back into the Wild Card race until being eliminated on the final weekend of the season. Club officials say everyone feels better about the state of the franchise heading into the offseason. But, how will that shape the winter for the Brewers? Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel discussed that topic and other issues in a recent online chat with fans. Here are the highlights:
- GM Doug Melvin will be looking to add a veteran to the starting rotation and Haudricourt named Ryan Dempster, Edwin Jackson, and Kyle Lohse as possibilities. A fan suggested Brandon McCarthy and Haudricourt acknowledged the Brewers will perform their due diligence, but any addition will only be made if the pitcher is affordable, the right fit, and wants to come to Milwaukee.
- Haudricourt anticipates the Brewers signing a free agent starting pitcher is a more likely scenario than trading for one because the club has some payroll flexibility and they've already traded away a lot of prospects for pitching in recent years.
- Don't look for the Brewers to deal Corey Hart or Rickie Weeks to create more payroll flexibility. Haudricourt would be surprised if Hart, entering the final year of his contract with a 2013 salary of $10 MM, is traded despite the presence of Southern League MVP Hunter Morris. Weeks, due a guaranteed $21MM over the next two seasons, should also be safe, Haudricourt theorized, because the Brewers have enough money coming off the books to not have to worry about his salary.
- Haudricourt expects the payroll be less in 2013 than the $100 million-plus of this year, a spending level that should put the franchise in the red for 2012.
- Expect Nyjer Morgan to be non-tendered. It was obvious, Haudricourt opined, that Morgan was being phased out and having made $2.3MM and eligible for arbitration again, he probably will be replaced by Logan Schafer, a less expensive option who is considered a better defender. Haudricourt did praise Morgan for conducting himself professionally and never popping off or openly complaining about his decrease in playing time.
- Haudricourt listed some minor league prospects who took a big step this year and that fans should keep an eye on next season, including the aforementioned Morris.
Royals owner David Glass recently said that the team is "committed to improving (their) starting pitching" while also indicating a willingness to operate at a financial loss to be competitive. Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star has the latest on the team...
- “Our market is what it is,” said GM Dayton Moore. “We’re not going to have a payroll of $100MM. We know that going into it. We embrace who we are ... We’ve got to stay consistent with our approach. We’re not going get crazy and go nuts in free agency.”
- There are indications that the Royals have Anibal Sanchez and Kyle Lohse at the top of their free agent target list. Bringing Zack Greinke back for a second tour of duty is unlikely.
- The team's list of secondary pitching targets is believed to include Ryan Dempster, Hiroki Kuroda, Shaun Marcum, Carlos Villanueva, and Carlos Zambrano. They will also monitor pitchers who could have club options declined, like Dan Haren and Ervin Santana.
- “Absolutely ... I think any pitcher would be fortunate to pitch here," said right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, an impending free agent the team would like to retain. They are unwilling to go beyond a two-year deal, however.
- Moore acknowledged that there is a chance of working out a new contract with Guthrie during the exclusive negotiating window prior to free agency.
- “I wouldn’t say anybody is untouchable,” said Moore with regards to potential trade talks. “You go into any discussion with an open mind. That being said, there are certain positions on the diamond that are very difficult to replace ... You don’t want to compromise in one area just to get strong in another area.”
- Dutton estimates that the Royals could have $20-23MM to spend this winter while keeping the current roster intact.
At least one baseball person wonders if Ryan Dempster hurt his free agent stock by agreeing to join the Rangers, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports. The American League, referred to by one general manager as "the big boy league," features some high-powered offenses that could have impact Dempster’s numbers and diminish his leverage in offseason contract talks. Here are more notes from Olney...
- The Dodgers were interested in Dempster, but they never pushed for him, Olney reports. The Dodgers didn’t want to trade from their core of good prospects and they didn’t waver when the Cubs asked about their top minor leaguers.
- Olney suggests teams like the Red Sox and Orioles could have interest in Brandon McCarthy if the Athletics place him on waivers when he returns from the disabled list.
- Before the trade deadline, the Phillies made it clear that they would not pick up any of Cliff Lee’s salary in a trade and would also want prospects in return for the left-hander. Olney suggests it’s highly unlikely Lee will be moved in a waiver deal this month.
- Starlin Castro’s name came up in conversations between the Cubs and Diamondbacks leading up to the trade deadline, Olney writes. However, both sides moved on quickly and a deal was never close.
- Olney wonders if the Nationals could pursue in Derek Lowe given their interest in adding pitching leading up to the trade deadline.
The Athletics and Angels are currently positioned as the American League's two Wild Card teams. Both clubs made trades with the Brewers in anticipation of the non-waiver trade deadline, but the Angels' acquisition (Zack Greinke) led to considerably more headlines than the player the A's obtained (George Kottaras). Here's the latest on the other two AL West teams...
- Sosnick Cobbe Sports no longer represents Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (on Twitter). Agent Paul Cobbe said it made sense for the sides to end their business relationship because of some personal differences.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels will look out for possible August trade targets this month, Bryan Dolgin of ESPNDallas.com writes. "It's unusual to find an everyday player, a starting pitcher, but you can find some quality role players or relief pitchers out there," Daniels said.
- Recently-acquired Rangers starter Ryan Dempster said on ESPN 1000's The Waddle & Silvy Show that he never turned down a trade to Atlanta (link via ESPNChicago.com). "All I asked for was more time on one particular trade," the right-hander said. The Cubs sent Dempster to Texas for minor league third baseman Christian Villanueva and minor league right-hander Kyle Hendricks.