San Francisco Giants Rumors

San Francisco Giants trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Quick Hits: Braves, Ross, Cabrera, Kang, Aoki

The White Sox, Yankees and Astros have spent heavily on relief help this offseason, and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick wonders if they’ll end up regretting their expensive contracts for veteran relievers. “In the last couple of years we’ve lost a lot of games late in the eighth and ninth inning,” says White Sox manager Ventura. “After a while you sit there and think, ‘We have to have somebody who can come in and do this.’ Everything has its risks — and this is one of them — but we’re pretty confident we got a guy [David Robertson] who we can put in the bullpen and be a leader.” The reason for all the spending on players like Robertson, Zach Duke, Andrew Miller, Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek isn’t so much that teams are trying to emulate the Royals‘ ferocious 2014 bullpen, Crasnick suggests. Rather, it’s more that teams are loaded with cash and pitchers like Robertson and Miller are very good. Here are more notes from around the Majors.

  • The Braves continue to explore potential trades involving Justin Upton and Evan Gattis, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports (Twitter links). The Braves have spoken about Upton and Gattis with five teams Wednesday, and continued to consider ways to include B.J. Upton or Chris Johnson in trades involving Justin Upton or Gattis. The Padres had previously looked like a potential destination for Justin Upton, but it would appear that their agreement to acquire Wil Myers today rules them out as a potential trade partner, at least for now.
  • Free agent catcher David Ross is deciding between the Red Sox, Cubs and Padres, WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford writes. Meanwhile, lefty reliever Craig Breslow has spoken to the Red Sox and Cubs. Ross has played for the Red Sox, of course, and has a history with Jon Lester and Theo Epstein of the Cubs (although his signing with the Cubs would likely result in, or come as the result of, a trade of Welington Castillo). The Padres are in the process of trading both Yasmani Grandal and Rene Rivera, but are also in the process of acquiring Ryan Hanigan and Tim Federowicz, so it’s unclear where Ross would fit in.
  • Asdrubal Cabrera has drawn interest from the Giants, Athletics, Mets, Cardinals and Twins, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets. Heyman writes that Cabrera could play second base or third base as well as shortstop, although there have been rumblings that Cabrera prefers to play shortstop or second base only, and not third. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle would be surprised if the A’s are interested, as they’ve never shown interest in Cabrera in past years despite up-the-middle needs (Twitter links).
  • Those same five teams have asked about Korean middle infielder Jung-ho Kang, although the Athletics and Mets are downplaying their interest, Heyman tweets. A’s GM Billy Beane has stated on the record that reports of his club’s interest in Kang are inaccurate. Kang was posted earlier this week.
  • Heyman lists the Orioles, Reds and Mariners as possibilities for Nori Aoki, with the veteran outfielder potentially receiving two to three years at $7MM-$8MM per year. Aoki had previously been connected to the Orioles and Reds, with the Orioles mostly interested in him as a backup option. Heyman reported last week that Aoki was looking for a three-year deal. Earlier this offseason, we at MLBTR guessed he would receive two years and $16MM.

Minor Moves: Tuiasosopo, Beal, Partch

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league.

  • The Orioles have announced the signings of outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo and righty Jesse Beal to minor league deals. (They also formally announced the signing of reliever Chaz Roe, which we already noted last week.) Tuiasosopo, 28, was a productive role player with Detroit in 2013, but he spent all of 2014 in the minors, batting .240/.357/.379 in 487 plate appearances for two International League teams. Beal, 24, is re-signing with the Orioles after posting a 3.48 ERA, 7.8 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 41 1/3 innings for Class A+ Frederick in 2014.
  • The Cubs and Athletics have completed the summer’s Jeff Samardzija / Jason Hammel / Addison Russell trade between the clubs with the Athletics sending cash instead of a player to be named later, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat tweets.
  • The Giants have signed reliever Curtis Partch to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets. The Reds non-tendered the 27-year-old Partch earlier this month after he posted a 4.75 ERA, 10.3 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 in 47 1/3 innings for Triple-A Louisville last season. Partch’s fastball regularly sat in the mid-90s in parts of two seasons with the Reds, but he’s never had sustained success at the big-league level.

Marlins, Braves, Giants Interested In Jake Peavy

The Marlins, Braves and Giants are interested in free agent starting pitcher Jake Peavy, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets. Rosenthal notes, however, that the Marlins are only candidates to sign Peavy if newly acquired starter Dan Haren either retires or is dealt.

There haven’t been many reported rumors on Peavy this offseason, although he’s been connected in passing to the Dodgers and Twins as well as the Marlins and Giants. Peavy, 33, had an uneven 2014 season, struggling in 20 starts with Boston before heading to Giants in a July trade and getting great results down the stretch in San Francisco. He then pitched well in two postseason starts before struggling in two World Series outings. Still, he could be in line for a multi-year deal. As a scout told ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick earlier this month, “[I]f you have a deep team and you can give him a [Tim] Hudson type of deal and plug him into the 4 or 5 spot, I think he’s worth that.



Giants To Re-Sign Sergio Romo

The Giants have agreed to a two-year, $15MM deal with righty Sergio Romo, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Romo can earn up to $1MM in incentives based upon games finished, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick tweets. Now entering his age-32 season, Romo lost his job as the San Francisco closer but rebounded to have a strong second half.

"<strongBringing back Romo represents be the offseason’s first significant addition for GM Brian Sabean, who fell short in efforts to re-sign Pablo Sandoval and draw Jon Lester. The team is said to be casting a wide net in efforts to bolster its roster for a World Series defense.

Getting Romo at a two-year guarantee may have cost the Giants a slight premium in AAV, with MLBTR’s Zach Links having predicted a three-year, $21MM deal for the slider specialist. In spite of his difficult start to the 2014 campaign, there is plenty to like about the veteran. As Zach noted, Romo owns a career 2.51 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9, and has appeared in at least 64 games a season since the 2010 campaign.

And then there is that second half of last year. Other players — Brandon McCarthy and Chase Headley chief among them, perhaps — rode strong late-season runs to long contracts. For his part, Romo flipped a switch and posted a 1.80 ERA on the back of 10.4 K/9 against 1.4 BB/9 down the stretch. ERA estimators validated the improved results, as he compiled a 2.58 FIP and 2.89 xFIP.

Romo was also quite stingy during the Giants’ World Series run, allowing just one earned run in seven innings of work, with seven punchouts and no free passes. He owns a lifetime 2.11 ERA in 21 1/3 postseason frames, and has been a key component on each of San Francisco’s three recent championship clubs.

The free agent relief market is now without another top arm. Of the nine relievers to crack the top fifty list of MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes, four remain unsigned: Francisco Rodriguez, Rafael Soriano, Casey Janssen, and Jason Grilli.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Jung-Ho Kang Posted

DECEMBER 15: As promised, Kang has been posted today, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets. Friday at 5pm EST is the deadline for teams to submit bids.

DECEMBER 13: Kang will be posted Monday, Rosenthal tweets.

DECEMBER 8: Kang is drawing interest from the Athletics, Giants, Mets and several other clubs, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports.  The A’s and Mets would presumably be interested in Kang at shortstop, while the Giants could use Kang at either third or second (if the latter, Joe Panik would shift to the hot corner).

DECEMBER 7: Rosenthal tweets Kang is expected to be posted next week.

NOVEMBER 10: Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang is not expected to be posted until after the Winter Meetings, which run next month from Dec. 7-11 in San Diego, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Agent Alan Nero tells the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo that his client will be posted in mid-December (Twitter link).

The 27-year-old Kang is coming off a monster season in the Korea Baseball Organization in which he hit .354/.457/.733 with 39 home runs. However, there are some differing opinions on how well Kang’s game will translate to Major League Baseball. Firstly, KBO is known to be an extremely hitter-friendly environment, so perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into those numbers. And, as Joel Sherman noted earlier today, some scouts have expressed skepticism that his power will translate to the Majors and aren’t sure he can play a Major League caliber shortstop — sentiments that were shared by an international scouting director that spoke with MLBTR regarding Kang.

However, ESPN’s Keith Law recently ranked Kang 15th among free agents (Insider subscription required and recommended), believing that some of his power can translate to the Majors, likely at the cost of his batting average. He noted that Kang lacks the range teams would like to see out of a shortstop but has a 60 arm (on the 20-80 scouting scale) to make up for some of the range. Law noted that he’d give Kang every chance he could to stick at shortstop while acknowledging that he, too, has heard scouts who see Kang as more of an “unathletic corner guy” whose power won’t play in the Majors.


Chase Headley Nearing Decision

Third baseman Chase Headley is nearing a decision and could reach an agreement as soon as today, reports WFAN’s Sweeny Murti. The Yankees, according to Murti, are still in the mix, but they face competition from the Giants and likely other clubs as well.

Headley, 30, has been linked to both the Astros and Marlins at various times. A previous report indicated that he’d received a four-year, $65MM offer, but to this point, no report has indicated the source of that offer, and some within the industry have voiced doubt that it exists. Bill Madden of the New York Daily News, however, did hear last week that the Astros have offered Headley $65MM over a five-year term rather than a four-year term.

Headley batted .243/.328/.372 last season, though his numbers improved upon his departure from Petco Park in a trade to the Yankees. With New York, Headley batted .262/.371/.398 with six of his 13 homers in 58 games. And, of course, Headley is known to be one of the game’s premier defensive third basemen.

Last night, Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Brendan Kuty of NJ.com that Headley “wants to be a Yankee” and that Headley’s agents have recently been in touch with the Yankees (Twitter links). “If we can find a common ground,” said Cashman, “I’d like to have him man third base as we move forward.”


Cafardo On Hamels, Astros, Howard, Craig

In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that teams second guessing themselves is just a regular part of the offseason.  A lot of folks are second guessing the A’s, but manager Bob Melvin has confidence in GM Billy Beane.

We’re looking to get a little bit younger, yet if you want to look back to the end of 2011 and leading into 2012, we traded our last three All-Stars in [Trevor] Cahill[Andrew] Bailey, and [Gio] Gonzalez and we ended up winning the division,” said Melvin. “We’re looking to compete again. This isn’t something where we’re breaking it down and moving in a different direction. The players that we’re getting back we like. There’s always a balance here for us in that we have to look down the road. We lost quite a bit of talent the last couple of years, making some trades. Billy is about as good as it gets as far as being able to handle that balance and keep us competitive currently, yet also having to look down the road for the future.”

More from today’s column..

  • The Astros are a sleeper team in the Cole Hamels chase, Cafardo writes.  The Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers, Padres, and Rangers are also interested in the Phillies left-hander, but Houston could join the bunch and the Giants may also be in if they can’t land James Shields.
  • The Phillies are trying to get teams interested in Ryan Howard, and a team source indicated to Cafardo that they are willing to pay a great majority of his contract to move him.  Howard is owed $60MM between 2015 and 2017, including a buyout.  The Rays and Orioles have DH needs and he could theoretically fit the bill.
  • Both the Marlins and the Brewers have active interest in Red Sox first baseman Allen Craig.  Craig, 30, had some strong years with the Cardinals before joining the Red Sox at last year’s deadline.
  • Agent John Boggs says that he’s having “discussions with several cubs” about client Ichiro Suzuki, though no deal is imminent at this time.
  • Dan Uggla’s agent, Terry Bross, was trying to market his client for a comeback at the Winter Meetings.  Cafardo hears that a lot of the 34-year-old’s decline may have had to do with an undetected concussion.

AL East Notes: Yanks, Detwiler, McLouth, Melky, Sox

The Yankees came away from the Winter Meetings without completing any deals, though it wasn’t for lack of trying, GM Brian Cashman told reporters, including MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch“We threw a lot of ideas a lot of different ways, but we’ve got a long way between now and Opening Day,” said Cashman as he left the meetings. We’ll keep our conversations that still are ongoing alive, and just wait and see.” Hoch writes that the Yankees never made proposals to David Robertson or Brandon McCarthy, the latter of whom “went to a level we couldn’t play on,” in Cashman’s words.

More from the AL East…

  • The Orioles had definite interest in Ross Detwiler before the Nats traded him to the Rangers, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. That he ended up in Texas may be best for the player himself, however, as Kubatko notes that Baltimore would’ve kept Detwiler in the ‘pen. The Rangers plan to use him as a starter, which is his preference.
  • Also from Kubatko, the Orioles have interest in bringing back old friend Nate McLouth, though not at his current $5MM (plus a $750K buyout of a 2016 option) price tag. The Nationals are willing to eat part of that salary to move McLouth, Kubatko adds, but the Orioles will wait to see if he is released for the time being.
  • The Orioles have some interest in Melky Cabrera, reports Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, but only on a two- or three-year deal (Twitter link). Cabrera is said to be eyeing a five-year deal, however, and the Mariners’ previously reported interest appears to be stronger than that of the Orioles, based on Encina’s tweet.
  • Though the Red Sox have five starters (or will have five, once the Wade Miley trade is completed), Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that they’re still a match for Cole Hamels. He speculates that an arm like Joe Kelly could be a part of a trade with the Phillies, thereby opening a spot in the Boston rotation.
  • Peter Gammons looks at the reconstructed Red Sox rotation, noting a heavy emphasis on ground-ball pitchers that places some pressure on Xander Bogaerts and Pablo Sandoval. Gammons notes that the Red Sox brass is aware of its lack of a front-line starter. They’d like to add James Shields, but “exit polls” at the Winter Meetings had him going to the Giants, according to Gammons. Johnny Cueto is of interest, but the “timing and price isn’t there right now,” and Hamels negotiations with the Phillies have been difficult for all teams involved.

NL West Notes: Kemp, Kim, Giants, Arruebarrena

Before dealing Matt Kemp to one division rival, they were in deep talks with another about a deal, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). The Diamondbacks rejected L.A.’s request for center fielder A.J. Pollock but was willing to ship top pitching prospect Archie Bradley to add Kemp. Of course, we do not know the details of those discussions, including especially the amount of Kemp’s salary that would have been covered.

Here’s the latest from the National League West:

  • The Padres are unlikely as things stand to reach agreement with Kwang-hyun Kim before today’s deadline, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets. With a 2pm PST expiration, we could learn more on that situation soon.
  • The Giants intend to add a starter sooner rather than later and do not intend to participate in a drawn-out bidding process, AGM Bobby Evans told reporters including John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link).
  • In addition to checking in with Asdrubal Cabrera, the Giants have inquired with Jed Lowrie about his interest in spending time at second or third, also per Evans. (Via Shea, on Twitter.) Lowrie apparently indicated that would be a possibility. The team could theoretically add a player at second and move Joe Panik to third, Evans also told the scribes, per MLB.com’s Chris Haft (via Twitter).
  • The Dodgers will be open to moving shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena after the Jimmy Rollins deal is finalized, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. The 24-year-old is owed $16MM over the next four years.

Latest On Asdrubal Cabrera

3:34pm: Giants GM Bobby Evans threw some cold water on the idea of Cabrera playing the hot corner in San Francisco in a session with reporters. He said that Cabrera prefers to play up the middle — whether at second or short — and that there is not a fit right now, though the door remains open. (Via Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News, on Twitter.)

1:27pm: The Giants are weighing the addition of Asdrubal Cabrera to play third base, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter. He has received plenty of interest, per Heyman, though mostly at second or third rather than shortstop.

MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes recently noted on Twitter that the Royals have interest in Cabrera, in the event that Omar Infante is dealt. The Yankees and Dodgers also had some interest in Cabrera, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets, though it would appear that those teams’ recent moves probably reduce the likelihood of a match.

Cabrera has seen a decent bit of action at second in his career, though he has only appeared at third in one big league game. He brings a roughly league average bat, though teams can perhaps hope for a return to his ceiling as he is still only 29 years of age.