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The Astros are known to be seeking relief help and they might be aiming high. Houston has reached out to Scott Leventhal, the agent for David Robertson, to express interest in the Yankees closer, an industry source told Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. Still, it’s not known whether the Astros are willing to approach the four-year, ~$52MM deal that Robertson is after. More from the AL and NL West..
- Giants vice president Bobby Evans told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (on Twitter) that they have not made a “final offer” to Pablo Sandoval. While Evans would not confirm that their offer on the table is a five-year, $95MM deal as its been reported, he implied that it’s accurate (link).
- The Padres are still receiving inquiries on pitcher Ian Kennedy, according to Corey Brock of MLB.com. Kennedy is in his final year of arbitration eligibility and Matt Swartz projects that he’ll earn $10.3MM in 2015.
- If the Rockies don’t upgrade their rotation, they’re in store for another 90-loss season, writes Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post. The Rockies say they’re focused on developing young talent, but their history of developing pitchers has been awful. Juan Nicasio, who was designated for assignment last week, is just the latest example of that.
- While it may seem counter-intuitive, there is some merit to the idea of the Astros paying big money for a top closer, writes Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle.
Here’s the latest on free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval, with the day’s latest stories at the top.
- Teams have been asked to submit their final offers for Sandoval, tweets Alex Speier of WEEI.com. That appears to mean that the bidding is down to three teams – the Padres, Red Sox, and Giants – Speier notes in a separate tweet.
- The trio of clubs have all submitted offers, and Sandoval will make his choice next week, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.
- The Padres have made the most expensive offer to Sandoval so far, but Sandoval is still more likely to pick the Red Sox, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. Previous reporting indicated the Red Sox had offered Sandoval five years and $95MM, so the Padres’ offer appears to be worth more than that. The Giants will turn their attention to Yasmany Tomas if Sandoval departs.
- Preller and the Padres made a “very serious” offer to Sandoval, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes.
- The Blue Jays have not had contact with Sandoval’s camp in the last two days, suggesting that they are not a key bidder for Sandoval at this time, Ben Nicholson-Smith of SportsNet.ca writes.
- The Giants have received no indication that they trail the Red Sox in the race to land Sandoval, Rosenthal tweets.
- Echoing Rosenthal, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets that the Giants still believe they’re in contention to re-sign Sandoval. Cafardo wrote yesterday that the Red Sox had extended Sandoval a five-year, $95MM offer.
- Padres GM A.J. Preller, meanwhile, was in Miami on Friday to meet with Sandoval’s agent, Gustavo Vasquez, MLB.com’s Corey Brock writes. He is expected to fly to the Dominican Republic today to meet with Tomas’ representation. Rosenthal reported yesterday that the Padres would make a formal offer to Sandoval on Friday. The Padres have joined the Giants and Red Sox as the key contenders to sign Sandoval, and the Braves as one of the key teams in the bidding for Tomas.
The Dodgers might be more likely to deal Matt Kemp than is commonly believed, Jon Heyman of CBS writes. If the Dodgers did trade Kemp, they could rid themselves of a significant portion of the remainder of his contract. Also, the possibility that Joc Pederson will start the season in center field means that Kemp will have to play left, which isn’t his preference. The Dodgers will “certainly” trade at least one outfielder, Heyman writes, and it’s increasingly likely that it will be Kemp. Here are more notes from the National League.
- The Padres are reportedly involved in the bidding for Pablo Sandoval and Yasmany Tomas, but their history suggests they aren’t likely to sign either, Kirk Kenney of the Union-Tribune writes. Decades ago, the team came up short in bidding for Catfish Hunter, Reggie Jackson and Pete Rose, and Kenney writes that the Friars haven’t signed a significant free agent since Goose Gossage in 1983. Players like Greg Vaughn (who re-signed with the Padres as a free agent after the 1996 season) and Brian Giles (who did the same after 2005) might have something to say about that, but there’s little doubt that big free agent signings aren’t the Padres’ usual way of doing business.
- A recent report indicated the Phillies‘ level of interest in Tomas might now be diminished due to worries about his defense. But defense should be a secondary consideration if Tomas shows he has the bat to produce runs in today’s pitching-dominated game, Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com writes. There are plenty of good defenders available, Seidman argues, but few dominating hitters.
Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…
- A number of additional minor league signings have been reported on the MLB.com transactions page. Among the more notable moves: The Reds added first baseman Josh Satin along with second baseman Ivan De Jesus. Righty Logan Kensing and shortstop Juan Diaz have agreed to terms with the White Sox. And five catchers are off the board: Griff Erickson (Padres), Koyie Hill (Phillies), Sebastian Valle and Miguel Perez (Pirates), and Guillermo Quiroz (Giants).
- Other signings, via MLB.com: righty Caleb Clay and outfielder Nick Buss (Diamondbacks); lefties Ryan Verdugo and Jim Fuller (Athletics); third baseman Jefry Marte (Tigers); righty Daniel Turpen, third baseman Heiker Meneses, and shortstop Argenis Diaz (Twins); righty Bryce Stowell and first baseman Allan Dykstra (Rays); first baseman Travis Mattair and righties Justin Jackson, Jairo Heredia, and Jake Brigham (Braves); outfielder Javier Herrera (Giants); righty Leuris Gomez (Rockies); righty Michael Lee (Blue Jays); third baseman Jonathan Galvez (Yankees); righty Paul Clemens (Phillies).
- The D’Backs have agreed to terms on a minor league deal and a Spring Training invite with infielder/outfielder Jamie Romak, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes tweeted today. The 29-year-old Romak, a client of Taurus Sports’ David Sloane, made his big league debut with the Dodgers in 2014 and collected his first hit in the Majors. The former fourth-rounder is a lifetime .258/.324/.474 hitter at Triple-A.
- The Orioles announced the signings of infielder Paul Janish, right-hander Terry Doyle and outfielder Quincy Latimore to minor league contracts and invitations to big league Spring Training. SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo was the first to tweet Janish’s agreement, and Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com had previously reported that the team was working on a deal with him. Janish is the only one of the bunch that comes with MLB experience; the 32-year-old defensive specialist is a career .214/.284/.288 hitter in 1206 plate appearances between the Reds and Braves.
- The Nationals announced that they have signed right-hander Bruce Billings to a minor league contract with an invite to Major League Spring Training. The 29-year-old Billings pitched four innings for the Yankees last season and split the season between the Yankees and Dodgers organizations. Overall, the veteran posted a 5.27 ERA with 6. K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 95 2/3 innings.
- Outfielder Xavier Avery has inked a minor league deal with the Tigers and will receive a Spring Training invite as well, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. The 24-year-old Avery spent last season with the Mariners after being acquired from the Orioles in the 2013 Mike Morse trade. Avery hit .275/.344/.413 with 10 homers and 31 steals, appearing at all three outfield spots for Seattle’s Triple-A affiliate in 2014.
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As of late last night, the Padres, Red Sox and Giants were said to be the three primary suitors for Pablo Sandoval, with the White Sox and Blue Jays reportedly more on the periphery. As the Panda draws nearer to a decision, we’ll run down the latest rumors from today in this post…
- The Red Sox have made Sandoval a five-year, $95MM offer, per a report from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The status of other offers is less certain, with Cafardo noting that it is not known whether a sixth year option has been put on the table by another club and saying only that Boston may have the highest offer out.
- The Padres will make a formal offer to Sandoval today, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). A report last night indicated that the Pads, along with the Red Sox and Giants, were all interested in Sandoval at somewhere in the $90-95MM range over five years.
A pair of rival executives described Padres GM A.J. Preller as “all over the map” when asked by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Preller, Rosenthal writes, is furiously exploring both trade and free agent possibilities to boost his new club’s offense. According to Rosenthal, Preller was in contact with the Braves about Jason Heyward prior to their trade with the Cardinals, and he’s also called on Jay Bruce and Matt Kemp in addition to showing legitimate interest in Pablo Sandoval. One of Preller’s colleagues estimated to Rosenthal that the San Diego GM has had “baseline discussions” on at least 200 players this offseason. Suffice it to say, Padres fans should likely expect some form of significant move in Preller’s first offseason at the helm.
Elsewhere in the division…
- Trade talks regarding Miguel Montero have not escalated significantly since Russell Martin came off the board and signed with the Blue Jays, reports the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro (the Montero portion comes at the bottom of the article). However, the D’Backs have spoken to the White Sox, Cubs and Dodgers about Montero, who is owed $40MM over the next three seasons.
- MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez tweets that Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart was recently in the Dominican Republic, and senior vice president of baseball operations De Jon Watson is in Mexico scouting some of the top international teens on the market. The D’Backs are hoping to make waves on the international front soon, he adds.
- The Rockies are still interested in re-signing Brett Anderson to a more team-friendly deal than the $12MM option they declined, tweets the Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders. However, the Royals and Astros are interested in adding Anderson under similar circumstances, he adds.
- Giants assistant GM Bobby Evans said on KNBR radio yesterday that his team is very interested in both Yasmany Tomas and Yoan Moncada (via Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle). However, Evans wouldn’t commit one way or another when asked if his club had the money to sign both Tomas and Sandoval.
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FRIDAY: In response to the report that Bruce rejected the Reds’ extension offers, agent Matt Sosnick went on the record with ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick to offer the following statement:
“It is true that the Reds made Jay two offers during the season. The fact the deal didn’t get done had nothing to do with Jay’s desire to remain a Red for life, which is still the case. It was more about his desire to make sure that contract talks didn’t become a distraction during the season. But Jay still greatly appreciated the offers.”
THURSDAY: The Reds have long been known to be open to dealing a starter this winter — Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon are all free agents following the 2015 season — but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that they’re also open to moving other high-priced players. According to Rosenthal, the Reds are listening to offers for Jay Bruce and have had preliminary trade discussions with other clubs, including the Padres.
Rosenthal’s sources indicate that the Reds made a pair of extension offers to Bruce prior to the 2014 season, but Bruce rejected each scenario. Bruce, of course, went on to have his worst season in 2014, due largely to an early injury that required knee surgery. Bruce missed just 15 days following the operation and never felt right after that, GM Walt Jocketty admits. The two-time All-Star and Silver Slugger winner batted just .217/.281/.373 with a career-low 18 home runs this year.
The Reds certainly aren’t committed to moving Bruce, Rosenthal notes, adding that owner Bob Castellini’s preference is likely to try to win in 2015. Adding a left fielder and receiving full, healthy seasons from Bruce, Joey Votto, Homer Bailey and Brandon Phillips could go a long way toward that end, but the Reds do have somewhat of a payroll crunch on their hands that could limit their flexibility this offseason if they don’t trade at least one significant salary away.
Though Bruce struggled in 2014 following his operation, he’s been a force at the plate throughout his career. The 27-year-old batted .262/.337/.489 and averaged 30 homers from 2010-13. He’s owed $12MM in 2015, $12.5MM in 2016 and has a $13MM club option with a $1MM buyout for the 2017 season. His $51MM extension contains a limited no-trade clause that allows him to block deals to eight clubs, as shown on Cot’s Contracts. Clearly, the Reds wouldn’t move Bruce simply to save cash and would be looking for a significant return in terms of prospects and/or young, MLB-ready talent in a potential deal.
Yesterday, the Braves reportedly became a late entrant in the Yasmany Tomas sweepstakes, while other reports indicated that the Phillies may be backing off due to growing concerns over his glove and conditioning. Tomas is reportedly a bit restless and becoming anxious to sign, though those close to him are urging him to express patience.
That sums up the majority of yesterday’s Tomas rumors, and we’ll keep track of Friday’s rumors pertaining to the 24-year-old Cuban slugger in this post…
- Not only are the Braves in the mix for Tomas, writes MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, they’re emerging as one of the two favorites alongside the Padres. Top officials from Atlanta and San Diego will meet with Tomas in the Dominican Republic this weekend, Sanchez hears. However, the signing process may not wrap up soon and could extend into the Winter Meetings, as Sanchez writes that his camp is considering attending the event, which will be held in the Padres’ home city of San Diego. Sanchez notes that Tomas is still believed to be seeking five to seven years with an average annual value of $15MM+, but his camp has begun to warm to the idea of a Yoenis Cespedes-like shorter term deal at a higher AAV, which would allow him to hit free agency sooner than the oft-mentioned five- to seven-year contract.
Midnight EST is the deadline for teams to add players to their 40-man roster in order to protect them from being selected in next month’s Rule 5 Draft. Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com lists the notable prospects who are newly Rule 5 eligible. Of course, the decision whether or not to protect a player has as much to do with roster flexibility and his expected ability to stick on a big league roster for a full season as it does the player’s overall prospect value.
We’ll keep tabs on the day’s 40-man additions here, and you can also check Baseball America’s running updates, which includes breakdowns of the players added.
- The Rays have yet to announce their full list of roster moves, but Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper tweets that second baseman Ryan Brett will be added to the 40-man.
- Following their trade with the Dodgers, the Rays announced that they have added Brett (as Cooper tweeted), right-hander Matt Andriese, left-hander Grayson Garvin, outfielder Mikie Mahtook and catcher Justin O’Conner to the 40-man roster.
- The Dodgers announced that lefty Adam Liberatore, acquired in the trade with the Rays, has been added to the 40-man roster.
- The Astros have made one final 40-man roster move, announcing the addition of right-hander Michael Feliz. Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper was among those to express surprise that Feliz had not previously been added to the roster, with some executives telling him they’d be shocked if Feliz wasn’t the No. 1 pick in the Rule 5 Draft (Twitter link).
- The Rangers announced that they’ve added righties Luke Jackson and Jerad Eickhoff, infielder Hanser Alberto and catcher Jorge Alfaro to the 40-man roster.
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- There’s very little separation between the current offers of the Giants, Red Sox and Padres, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. All three teams are in the five-year, $90-95MM range, while the Blue Jays, Cafardo hears, are wavering
- The Padres have joined the Red Sox and Giants as one of the most aggressive teams on Sandoval, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. While the White Sox and Blue Jays have interest they’re not believed to be as aggressive as the other three clubs. Heyman refers to the Padres as a “shocking” entrant in the race for a free agent of this caliber, and indeed, few pegged San Diego as a serious suitor for the Panda heading into the offseason.
- The Blue Jays do not have an offer out to Sandoval or anyone else, GM Alex Anthopoulos told reporters, including Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link). Neither does the team have plans to make any offers in the next 24 hours, he said. Prior reports have suggested that Toronto was lining up a bid for Sandoval.
- The Red Sox have not yet made Sandoval an offer, his brother and agent Michael Sandoval tells Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (Twitter link).
- The Giants feel they are very much in the hunt for Sandoval’s services, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. “We’ve got every indication that we’re right in the middle of it,” said assistant GM Bobby Evans, who went on to say that he believes “the interest is sincere” and that he thinks the player’s affinity for his long-time club could play some role. Sandoval’s agent, Gustavo Vasquez, has requested that San Francisco submit its best offer, according to Evans.
- Evans also said in a radio appearance on KNBR today that he expects Sandoval to sign fairly quickly, possibly before Thanksgiving. (Via Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News, on Twitter.) “I sense Pablo really edging towards trying to wrap this up,” said Evans.