San Diego Padres Rumors
It remains to be seen whether or not Masahiro Tanaka will be posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles, but if he is and the Diamondbacks have yet to address their starting pitching needs, expect Arizona to place a bid on the Japanese right-hander, tweets Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. Here's more on the D-Backs and a pair of their NL West rivals:
- Kevin Towers and the D-Backs don't mind waiting on Eric Chavez, who is deciding where he wants to play and monitoring Arizona's moves, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link).
- Asked about the possibility of trading Archie Bradley, Towers suggested today that it would be "very, very tough" for the D-Backs to do so, tweets Gilbert.
- The Padres have interest in Scott Downs, among other southpaw relievers, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. San Diego's Josh Byrnes confirmed that the team is casting a wide net for bullpen help, indicating that he has touched base with "most" available left-handed relievers (Twitter link via Adam Berry of MLB.com).
- According to Berry (Twitter links), Byrnes said the Padres have weighed "six or eight ideas" and have meetings set up to discuss free agents and trades. Byrnes also shot down the latest round of Chase Headley rumors, stating that the team views the third baseman as part of its 2014 plans.
- Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area has some details on the Giants' search for an outfielder, tweeting that the Giants called three times on Norichika Aoki before the Brewers decided to send Aoki to the Royals. In a second tweet, Baggarly says the Giants are interested in Michael Morse and Corey Hart, but probably not at the years and dollars those players will command.
- John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle provides a couple more Giants updates, reporting that no teams have inquired on San Francisco's five starters, but that the club's young pitching has drawn some interest. Shea adds that the team appears unlikely to bring back Chad Gaudin (Twitter links).
Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that he ran into Mark Prior at the Winter Meetings and was told the Prior has officially retired and could join the Padres front office. Prior's most recent comeback attempt with the Reds in 2013 was cut short when he once again injured his shoulder.
Prior, now 33 years of age, hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since 2006. Drafted second overall behind Joe Mauer in the 2001 draft, Prior burst onto the scene in 2002-03 with the Cubs in dominant fashion. In his first 328 big league innings, Prior posted a 2.74 ERA with a 392-to-88 (4.45) K/BB ratio.
Unfortunately, Prior would go on to throw just 329 additional Major League innings in an injury-riddled career. Multiple injuries to his rotator cuff, labrum and anterior capsule in his right shoulder required multiple surgeries that have limited 58 2/3 innings in affiliated ball since the end of the 2006 season.
Prior's once-promising playing career officially comes to an end with a 3.51 ERA, 10.4 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 657 innings. Prior signed a then-record $10.5MM contract out of the 2001 draft, which stood until 2009 when Stephen Strasburg signed a four-year $15.1MM deal as the No. 1 overall pick.
The Padres organization has lost several key members of its field staff following the hiring of Rick Renteria as Cubs manager, and it also lost special assistant Brad Ausmus to the Tigers. Prior could bring a wealth of knowledge to assist GM Josh Byrnes and his staff.
We haven't seen a ton of action yet from Orlando today, but plenty of smaller-scale rumors have been trickling in throughout the day, including plenty related to the bullpen market. Let's round up a few of the latest updates on some available relief pitchers....
- The Indians, who are in the market for a closer, have spoken to Grant Balfour, sources tell Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link).
- Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter) that Chris Perez is in attendance in Orlando to meet with teams in person, which Olney sees as a good move, considering how Perez's 2013 season played out.
- The Tigers sound lukewarm on the bullpen market at this point, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com (via Twitter), who says that stance could change once more closer openings are filled and free agents shift their focus to setup jobs.
- The Yankees, Nationals, and Padres have all been involved in the lefty relief market to varying degrees, according to Morosi (via Twitter).
- New York has stayed in touch with Boone Logan, tweets Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger. However, Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com (Twitter link) hears that Logan is hoping to earn a role as a setup man, rather than simply as a LOOGY.
- The Braves have spoken with the agent of Eric O'Flaherty, but that appears to be on the backburner for now, particularly since he's drawing interest from other teams, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Matt Kemp's agent, former MLB pitcher Dave Stewart, told Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times that he expects his client to be traded this offseason. Said Stewart: "I haven't heard a player's name floated around like that and something not happen." Stewart may be thinking back to last offseason's Justin Upton saga with that comment, but it's worth noting that several big-name trade candidates have been rumored to be on the block only to stay put, with Chase Headley coming to mind off the bat for me. Here's more out of the NL West...
- The Diamondbacks are one of the teams with the most aggressive interest in White Sox ace Chris Sale, but there's no guarantee that the Sox have made him available, per ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter). Earlier today it was reported that the Sox are looking to move a starting pitcher, but Sale would require an even bigger package than David Price will command.
- "I think we are still in the market for a starting pitcher, another bat, and as I've said before, our bullpen is not closed," Rockies director of Major League operations told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Owner Dick Monfort recently said he could see the payroll stretching to $95MM, Saunders notes.
- MLB.com's Thomas Harding reports that the Rockies were "deep" in talks with the A's for Brett Anderson last week but talks slowed due to concerns over Anderson's medical reports. Harding notes that the two sides could resume talks this week.
- The Padres and Diamondbacks could be two teams to show interest in recently DFA'ed Twins right-hander Liam Hendriks, writes Mike Beradino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. D-Backs GM Kevin Towers was the Padres' GM when San Diego finished runner-up to the Twins in bidding for the Australian right-hander as a free agent. Likewise, Padres director of international scouting Randy Smith was in the same role with San Diego when the Twins signed Hendriks in 2007.
Recent reports have linked Padres third baseman Chase Headley to the White Sox, and Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago adds some more details to that story, noting that the two sides have discussed the switch-hitting Headley numerous times. However, Chicago GM Rick Hahn is loath to meet counterpart Josh Byrnes' request of including Jose Quintana as part of the package.
As Hayes notes, Quintana can be controlled for another five seasons, and the Sox like the pairing of him and Chris Sale at the front of their rotation for the foreseeable future. The Sox are more amenable to trading fellow lefty Hector Santiago, according to Hayes, and they've likely offered him in potential deals for Headley. However, one big league evaluator told Hayes that Santiago's value has been negatively impacted by pitching in the same rotation as Quintana, as teams are frequently more interested in talking about Quintana, who is more consistent.
Though Headley figures to be one of the most oft-discussed players at this week's Winter Meetings, the Padres don't expect to trade their third baseman, sources tell Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. As for the White Sox, previous reports have indicated that the White Sox consider Quintana, Sale and Avisail Garcia to be untouchable in trades.
The idea that the Pirates would trade for David Price is "pure nonsense," writes the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ron Cook. The Pirates would have to pay about $30MM for two seasons of Price, and would have to give up lots of value in prospects as well. "There are a lot fewer clubs that can play at the top of the market than clubs that can't," Pirates GM Neal Huntington says. "We just can't afford to do 'X.' Well, we could, but then how would we build a championship-caliber club around that one player?" Huntington also says the single biggest improvement the Bucs can make is re-signing A.J. Burnett, who continues to consider whether to play for one more year or to retire. Here are more notes from the Central divisions.
- The Pirates could look for a first baseman, starting pitcher, shortstop and/or right fielder this week, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. Biertempfel notes that the Pirates "checked in on" starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo. If so, that might indicate that they're not hopeful that Burnett will be back next year.
- The Royals offered Carlos Beltran three years and over $40MM, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweets. Beltran ended up going to the Yankees for three years and $45MM. Heyman also notes that the Royals will also be bidding against the Yankees for infielder Omar Infante.
- The White Sox have demonstrated interest in Chase Headley of the Padres, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. As Van Schouwen notes, that's a little odd, unless the White Sox think they can sign Headley to an extension -- the White Sox aren't expected to contend in 2014, and Headley is a free agent after the season.
Huge long-term deals frequently turn out badly, and yet teams continue to offer them, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. "I thought after [Albert] Pujols [10 years for $240 million] went so wrong, so quickly, turned into such instant garbage, such a horror show, that the industry had finally learned," an NL executive tells Sherman. "I really did think it was the tipping point." That didn't stop the Mariners from giving Robinson Cano ten years and $240MM, however. Here are more notes from the West divisions.
- The Astros have already acquired Dexter Fowler, Scott Feldman and Chad Qualls this offseason, but that doesn't mean they won't be busy at the Winter Meetings, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes. They'd like to add another reliever, and they also have the first pick in the Rule 5 Draft, which takes place Thursday.
- Many Padres fans were disappointed when the team shipped Luke Gregerson to the A's for Seth Smith, but GM Josh Byrnes saw acquiring a left-handed bat as essential, U-T San Diego's Bill Center writes.
- The Padres are looking to acquire left-handed relief and could trade a young starter such as Burch Smith, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets, adding that the Twins haven't been in contact yet.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says the team is open to trading one of its outfielders, provided "it makes sense and we like what we get back," Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. Colletti also says he's made "a few offers" to Juan Uribe, who's known to be asking for a three-year contract.
Aaron Steen contributed to this post.
ESPN.com's Jayson Stark is out with a Winter Meetings preview, noting that the frenzy of signings and trades this week threatens to overshadow an event that's traditionally one of the hot stove's busiest periods. Twenty teams either swapped a player or agreed to terms with a free agent between Monday afternoon and Tuesday night, according to ESPN's count. "I don't ever remember a day like Tuesday ever," an AL official commented. "Not just [during] the week before the Winter Meetings. Ever." Nevertheless, with several top names remaining unsigned and rumors of a David Price trade hanging in the air, Stark notes that there's plenty of hot stove left. Here's a run-through of his Winter Meetings preview, which includes a survey of 17 big league executives (conducted before the Carlos Beltran and Robinson Cano signings):
- Some believe Scott Boras will bide his time with Shin-Soo Choo following how quickly a deal for Jacoby Ellsbury came together with the Yankees, but there's another group that believes the superagent wants to show new rival Jay Z that he can be decisive. Around half of execs polled said they think Choo could sign during the Winter Meetings, or immediately afterward. All speculated he'll land with either the Rangers, Mariners or Tigers, though Detroit is indicating they're not involved.
- The market for starting pitching has been slow to develop because of uncertainty surrounding Masahiro Tanaka, as well as slow-developing rumors for Price and Jeff Samardzija, leaving Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez still on the board. Officials polled varied widely in their predictions for when the two will sign, though many see Garza heading to the Yankees or the Orioles. Draft pick compensation is an issue with Jimenez, who doesn't have a consistent track record.
- Kendrys Morales isn't expected to sign soon, with many NL clubs passing on the slugger because there's a perception that he'll need to DH. "I think he has all the makings of this year's Kyle Lohse," one exec commented. Draft pick compensation is also an issue. "You should never forget how many teams don't want to give up those draft picks," one exec commented.
- Samardzija was seen as the player most likely to be traded during the Meetings among players who are still on the market, though his three votes only slightly surpassed Mark Trumbo's two. Many believe, however, that Samardzija could remain a Cub until later in the winter, or even until the summer trade deadline in July. One exec said he thinks the Angels were more willing to move Trumbo a month ago than they are currently.
- Carlos Beltran was by far seen as the most likely player to sign during the Meetings, though as that's already happened, the title is now held by Choo.
- While the Dodgers, Rangers, Mariners, Angels, Braves, Diamondbacks and Padres all appear to be interested in trading for Price, the group of teams that are actually able to consummate a deal could be much smaller. Rays GM Andrew Friedman appears to be taking his time allowing the market to develop. "Andrew is looking to make the Herschel Walker trade," a source tells Stark, referring to the 1989 NFL trade that involved 18 players and draft picks.
Dave Stewart, Matt Kemp's agent, has a "strong feeling something could happen" involving his client at the Winter Meetings, the former pitcher tells ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes. "This is the first time we've experienced this," Stewart said. "This is the first time we've heard it this much, and the first time we really believe something could happen." The Dodgers have been listening to offers for Kemp, and the Mariners, Rangers and Red Sox have all been linked to the outfielder, plus other teams.
Here's the latest from around the NL West...
- The Rockies are still looking for bullpen help and have maintained their interest in Jose Veras and Jesse Crain, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports (Twitter links). The club's interest in Crain, of course, hinges on whether he is healthy following the shoulder injury that prematurely ended his 2013 season.
- The Rockies had interest in Corey Hart and Mike Morse but both players profiled better as first basemen, Renck notes, a position that Colorado has since addressed by signing Justin Morneau. The Rockies have a hole in left field, with Carlos Gonzalez shifting to center and Michael Cuddyer remaining in right.
- The Padres had some interest in David Murphy and Nate McLouth, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets. With Murphy and McLouth respectively signed by the Indians and Nationals, however, San Diego's search for a left-handed hitting outfielder may have ended with their trade for Seth Smith.
- Ichiro Suzuki seems relegated to the bench in New York, so John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links) thinks the Giants should try to acquire the veteran address their outfield depth. Shea notes that Suzuki and Giants manager Bruce Bochy share an agent, plus Suzuki could be cheaply acquired from the Yankees. San Francisco had some interest in Ichiro when he was a free agent last winter.
In today's conference call to announce Tony Clark as the new executive director of the MLBPA, free agent Curtis Granderson didn't give reporters, including Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (on Twitter), the impression that they are right on the cusp of a deal with the Mets. "We ate a nice meal and it was great to enjoy some salmon … It was kind of what you could expect," said the outfielder. Here's more from around baseball..
- While the Red Sox have been engaged in talks with free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, the team is unlikely to pursue a three-year deal for the 36-year-old, an industry source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com. The rival Yankees also won't go to three years, reportedly.
- The Angels are unlikely to trade Mark Trumbo, according to jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (on Twitter). The Halos believe that a fair return would be top notch young starting pitching for the slugger and that deal doesn't exist. The Angels also aren't sure if they can get a good enough starter in exchange for Howie Kendrick, which could leave them to try and net two starters on the open market with limited money (link).
- The Yankees' $153MM deal for Jacoby Ellsbury is supposed to put the squeeze on Robinson Cano, but it could backfire, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- The Red Sox's offer to Jarrod Saltalamacchia topped out at two years for about $18MM, a source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- The Yankees have signed right-hander Brian Gordon to a minor league deal, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post (on Twitter).
- Ryan Webb was surprised to learn that he was non-tendered by the Marlins, writes Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel.
- Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors (on Twitter) expected Luke Gregerson to fetch more than Seth Smith. The Padres and A's swapped the two in a one-for-one swap earlier today.
- Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe takes a closer look at the Red Sox's deal for A.J. Pierzynski.