San Francisco Giants Rumors
5:10pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears that the winning team made the claim as a block, and Hairston is not likely to be traded (Twitter link).
4:41pm: Mets outfielder Scott Hairston has been claimed on waivers by an unknown team, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (all Twitter links). The Dodgers did not win the claim and neither did the Giants, Heyman writes.
The Mets placed Hairston and Andres Torres on waivers over the weekend. They now have two days to select one of three options. They can let Hairston (and his contract) go to the claiming team, they can complete a trade with the claiming team, or they can pull him back off of waivers. National League teams had waiver priority on Hairston, beginning at the bottom of the standings.
Hairston, 32, earns $1.1MM this year -- just $200K between now and the end of the season. He has a .272/.312/.512 batting line this year and a history of hitting left-handed pitching well.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
One of the largest trades in baseball history was made official on Saturday, but here's a look at what else is going on in baseball...
- The Giants' search for an outfielder is going "nowhere fast," reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). The Dodgers and Diamondbacks have waiver priority and can block deals, though San Francisco likes having Gregor Blanco's defense in left for their fly ball pitching staff.
- Following their recent major move, the Red Sox want to keep Cody Ross according to Rosenthal (on Twitter). Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston says that Ross knows this and an extension could happen before the end of the season (Twitter links). Talks have not yet begun, however.
- The Rangers have claimed a number of players this month, including Justin Upton according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. The club is looking for a number of ways to improve prior to August 31st.
- Before moving on to Adrian Gonzalez, the Dodgers made another attempt to acquire Justin Morneau last week according to Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times. They tried to land the Twins' slugger prior to the trade deadline as well.
- There is mutual interest between the Marlins and Carlos Lee about a return next season, reports MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. Earlier this month we heard that Lee wanted to return to Miami, but the club's intentions were unclear.
- Royals GM Dayton Moore told Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star that the team's focus this offseason will be the pitching staff, including an attempt to re-sign Jeremy Guthrie.
- Jonny Gomes told Susan Slusser of The San Francisco Chronicle that he would like to return to the Athletics next season. The 31-year-old is hitting .248/.360/.478 with 15 homers in 267 plate appearances this year.
The Giants are interested in Astros outfielder Steve Pearce, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter). San Francisco is in search of someone who handles left-handed pitching well and Pearce, who boasts a career .275/.345/.490 slash line against southpaws, fits the bill.
The Astros claimed the 29-year-old off waivers from the Orioles less than a month ago. A trade to the Giants would mean that Pearce has been with five clubs in 2012. He has been under contract with the Twins, Yankees, Orioles, and Astros all inside of this calendar year.
Earlier today, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post spoke with agent Scott Boras about his client Stephen Strasburg and the notion that he had a hand in imposing an innings limit on the hurler. Boras confirmed that he shared information with Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo but insisted that ultimately, the decision was made by the organization. Boras said that his staff created a study on the durability of pitchers and shared the data with Rizzo, who Boras said had already completed a similar study. Here's more from around baseball..
- Rival executives say that a number of players have yet to pass through waivers, creating the possibility that the Giants could find a left fielder. However, the Diamondbacks and other clubs that trail the Giants in the standings will almost certainly look to block affordable options. Someone like Jeff Francoeur would be more realistic for Brian Sabean & Co., writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- Yankees veteran Eric Chavez hopes to manage when his playing days are through, writes Daniel Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal. The 34-year-old isn't sure what next year will hold for him, but he has considered retirement before each of the past two seasons.
- Indians GM Chris Antonetti won't tip his cap to whether the club will look to bring back Grady Sizemore next year, only saying that he will wait to get a better handle on his health, writes Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer. Earlier today, two scouts told Jayson Stark of ESPN.com that they'd recommend signing Sizemore if it doesn't require much guaranteed money.
No MLB team finalized more extensions this offseason than the Giants, who locked up five of their top players. General manager Brian Sabean committed more than $200MM in future salaries in the four-month period from the beginning of January to the beginning of April. The extensions promised to solidify the team’s rotation long-term and cap the future earnings of a pair of arbitration eligible All-Stars.
For the most part, the extensions have worked for the team. Tim Lincecum's disappointing season is the largest blemish on an otherwise encouraging set of contracts for San Francisco.
Lincecum, whose early-career accomplishments assured him of a substantial raise, signed a two-year, $40.5MM contract extension to cover his final two arbitration years. Though he has pitched better lately, his ERA sits at 5.30 in what has been the most disappointing season of his MLB career. It’d be understandable if the Giants are relieved Lincecum didn’t accept their $100MM extension offer before the season. In that context, $40.5MM isn’t so expensive. Still, if the team had gone year to year with Lincecum, he wouldn’t have been locked in for a $22MM salary in 2013; a non-tender would have been possible.
Three other Giants starters have exceeded expectations since signing multiyear deals. Vogelsong, who signed a two-year, $8.3MM contract in January, is repeating last year's success. He has a 2.85 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 on his way toward a career high in innings pitched. Vogelsong would have been a free agent after the 2012 season if the Giants hadn't locked him up. They'll surely be glad to have him back for just $5MM in 2013 (the extension also includes a 2014 club option).
Like Vogelsong, Madison Bumgarner has replicated his 2011 success. The 23-year-old left-hander has inserted himself into the NL Cy Young Award race by posting a 2.83 ERA with five times as many strikeouts as walks in 171 2/3 innings this year. He obtained a record deal for pitchers with one-plus years of MLB service (five-years, $35MM), so it’s not as though Bumgarner obtained anything less than full value back in April. But this deal could hardly be going better for the Giants.
Matt Cain also obtained a record-setting contract this spring. He obtained a five-year, $112.5MM contract that established a record for right-handed pitchers. He's earning Cy Young Award consideration again after pitching a perfect game and posting a 2.83 ERA in 174 2/3 innings. If Cain had reached the free agent market this offseason, he would be the most sought-after pitcher available. The Giants could have re-signed him, of course, but not without spending considerably more than they did in April.
Lastly, Pablo Sandoval's play has justified his new three-year, $17.15MM contract -- at least when he's been on the field. Although he spent time on the disabled list with a strained hamstring and a fractured hamate bone, he does have an .821 OPS in 294 plate appearances. This extension had limited upside for the Giants in the first place, since it didn’t buy out any free agent years or include any club options.
For now the Giants are presumably focused on maintaining their division lead over the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. A few months from now, once the most chaotic part of the offseason has ended, Sabean and the rest of the San Francisco front office will encounter a familiar challenge: it'll be time to consider extensions for a new set of players led by All-Star catcher Buster Posey.
Photo courtesy of US Presswire.
It has been over a week since Melky Cabrera was handed a 50-game suspension for a failed PED test, ending his 2012 season and all but ending his hopes for a big multiyear contract this winter. Wherever Cabrera plays in 2013, it doesn't look like it will be in San Francisco, as his chances of re-signing are "close to nil" given the blow his suspension has dealt to the Giants' playoff chances.
Then again, so far Cabrera's absence hasn't hurt the club. The Giants are 5-2 since Cabrera's suspension and are currently riding a three-game win streak following a sweep over the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Minus Brian Wilson in the bullpen, it's almost like 2010 all over again -- Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval are carrying the lineup, while the Giants' rotation is keeping opponents off the scoreboard. Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner are Cy Young candidates, Ryan Vogelsong has pitched very well outside of some recent poor outings, Barry Zito has held his own as the fifth starter and even Tim Lincecum has begun to regain his old form, posting a 3.03 ERA over his last five starts.
Heading into tonight's action, the Giants are 69-55 and hold a 2.5-game lead over the Dodgers (and a 5.5-game lead over the Diamondbacks) in the NL West. In a division of flawed teams, the Giants might still have enough to take the division and make some noise in the postseason. Even minus Cabrera, do the Giants have enough to win their second World Series in three years?
MLBTR extends its best wishes to Michael Weiner, who is undergoing treatment for a brain tumor. The executive director of the Players Association expects the treatment to last about one month, according to an MLBPA press release. Here are today's links...
- Roger Clemens told reporters he’s “nowhere near” the shape he’d have to be in to pitch at the MLB level, Alyson Footer of MLB.com reports (Twitter link). The seven-time Cy Young Award winner signed a contract with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters and will pitch on Saturday. One rival executive speculated that the Astros could be a fit for Clemens, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). The exec pointed out that Clemens has a good relationship with Astros owner Jim Crane.
- It’s unlikely but not impossible that the Giants will trade for Heath Bell this season, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (on Twitter). Bell would have to be placed on waivers for the Giants and Marlins to complete a trade. Approximately $19MM remains on Bell's contract, so it seems likely that he'd clear waivers.
- GM Kenny Williams built the AL Central-leading White Sox, but he doesn't expect to be named MLB's executive of the year, Toni Ginnetti the Chicago Sun-Times reports. "If you don't win it when you win a World Series, you ain't going to win it,'' Williams said.
The Mariners have the best record in the American League since the All-Star break (23-13) after winning six consecutive games, as Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes. Here’s the latest from baseball’s two West divisions...
- In an appearance on on Sports Radio KJR this morning Felix Hernandez gave Mitch Levy a "promise" that there's nothing to worry about regarding a possible change in teams (quote via Baker). Hernandez is under contract through 2014 and Baker says the Mariners should extend him beyond that and build a better team around him.
- The Athletics and Diamondbacks extensively discussed a possible Stephen Drew trade leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports. The Athletics acquired Drew last night in a move that will reduce Arizona's payroll and provide Oakland with a shortstop who should hit.
- Manager Bruce Bochy said on MLB Network Radio that it's fair to say the Giants are looking for left field help, according to Jim Bowden (on Twitter). GM Brian Sabean is "working on it now," Bochy said, according to Bowden. Gregor Blanco is the Giants' left fielder for the time being. Sabean says all is quiet for now, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports (on Twitter).
Four teams have at least a 98% chance of reaching the postseason this year, according to Baseball Prospectus' Playoff Odds Report. The Yankees, Rangers, Nationals and Reds look like playoff teams now, but they all saw what happened to the Braves and Red Sox last year, so I doubt any contending teams intend on coasting from this point on. Here are today’s links...
- The chances that Melky Cabrera will appear in a potential postseason game or re-sign with the Giants this offseason are "close to nil," according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told reporters, including Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, that the team wouldn't attempt to retain Juan Cruz if he clears waivers (Twitter link). The Bucs have younger players who have passed Cruz, according to Hurdle. Cruz was designated for assignment earlier today.
- The Red Sox "weren't trying very hard" to trade Josh Beckett before the non-waiver trade deadline, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. The Rangers and Braves are believed to be among the teams that spoke to Boston's executives about Beckett, Heyman writes. One unnamed GM said "Boston's first priority has to be to trade Josh Beckett'' this August. Another executive suggested the Rangers could make sense for Beckett, who would have to be placed on waivers to be traded this month.
- The Cardinals signed 16-year-old right-hander Ronald Medrano, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports. Medrano has touched 90-91 mph with his fastball and has shown good feel for his secondary pitches. He had been considered one of the top Nicaraguan prospects available, according to Badler.
- Nationals first rounder Lucas Giolito re-injured his pitching elbow and will be examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum, ESPN.com's Keith Law reports. Giolito, who was at one point a candidate to be selected first overall, signed for $2.925MM after the Nationals drafted him 16th overall in June.
On this day in baseball history in 1957, Giants president Horace Stoneham violated baseball's protocol for announcements about teams relocating to new cities by failing to wait until after the World Series. Stoneham cited declining attendance to the press as to why the Giants were headed to San Francisco to play their home games for the following season. The team's board of directors approved the move by the vote of 8-1 with M. Donald Grant casting the lone dissenting vote. Grant would later go on to become the chairman of the expansion Mets.
Here's the latest news and headlines from around the league...
- Melky Cabrera's suspension ensures that the beleaguered outfielder won't see the field again until the playoffs, but that doesn't mean he can't win the NL batting title, writes Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com. Doyel suggests MLB commissioner Bud Selig should intervene and prevent Cabrera from receiving the award if he finishes the season with the highest batting average in the league. Andrew McCutchen currently leads the NL with a .356 average entering Sunday's action as compared to Cabrera's .346 mark with 43 games to go.
- The Mets may have a trade partner for Johan Santana this offseason if the left-hander can regain the strong form he's occasionally displayed this season, opines Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Martino looks at the Dodgers as a possible fit for the former two-time Cy Young winner given their newly-minted deep wallets. With Santana guaranteed over $25MM next season, the Mets may elect to keep their struggling ace rather than pay $20MM to watch him pitch for another team.
- Bobby Valentine never had a chance as the manager of the Red Sox given the state of the franchise from top to bottom, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. When Boston brought Valentine aboard to replace Terry Francona this offseason, it was getting a brilliant baseball mind who could identify talent at an expert level but was prone to a soap opera from time to time. As Heyman puts it, the Red Sox never should have hired Valentine if they were just going to cut his vocal chords mere months later in the wake of the Kevin Youkilis incident.