Scott Boras Rumors
The newest member of the Rays organization, Kelly Johnson, spoke with reporters on a conference call earlier today about his signing with Tampa Bay. The veteran second baseman/outfielder said he respected the Rays way of playing baseball under manager Joe Maddon, which made joining the franchise an easy decision. "I wasn't surprised they were interested. I knew if I wanted to go to Tampa I had to be willing to move around. They called and I was happy hear from them."
Here is what's happening around the league...
- Scott Boras denied his involvement with the planting of a rumor about his client Jose Valverde and an imminent deal with the Marlins, reports Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
- Mychal Givens will no longer play shortstop in the minors for the Orioles, but rather try his hand at pitching, writes Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty has yet to hear any updates from Scott Rolen while he remains at a stalemate with his four remaining arbitration-eligible players, says Mark Sheldon of MLB.com.
- Francisco Liriano's deal with the Pirates remains on track to become official, but will not do so until his non-throwing arm heals so the veteran can take a physical, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
- Derek Lowe will wait to see what other offers come his way after passing on a minor league deal from the Rockies, writes Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter).
Two of the biggest MLB stories to emerge recently are the Justin Upton trade and the Mets’ interest in Michael Bourn. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports weighed in on both subjects in recent columns. Here are some highlights:
- The Tigers like shortstop prospect Nick Ahmed and wanted him as part of a package for Rick Porcello, Rosenthal reports. Those talks would have made yesterday’s trade with the Braves a three-team deal. However, Arizona GM Kevin Towers suggested to the media yesterday that he’s comfortable with his starting pitching depth after acquiring Randall Delgado from the Braves.
- The Mets would have the support of the MLBPA if they continue lobbying for the right to surrender a second round pick instead of a first rounder should they sign a free agent linked to draft pick compensation. But sympathy for the Mets would only go so far just one offseason after the completion of baseball’s collective bargaining agreement. MLB wouldn’t want to establish a precedent and would likely fight a grievance by the MLBPA, Rosenthal reports.
- Scott Boras, Bourn’s agent, is a factor in this as well, Rosenthal reports. MLB isn’t inclined to do Boras any favors such as making an exception for Bourn.
Though many have expressed doubts that Michael Bourn, Rafael Soriano and Kyle Lohse will find lucrative free agent contracts, their agent suggests all three players will be just fine. Scott Boras, who represents each of the top three remaining free agents, told ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick that Bourn, Soriano and Lohse will do well, even if they remain unsigned as Spring Training approaches.
“People call me all the time and say, 'Man, your players aren't signed yet,'” Boras said. “Well, it doesn't really matter what time dinner is when you're the steak.”
All three players are linked to draft pick compensation after turning down qualifying offers at the beginning of the offseason (they're actually the only three free agents still linked to draft pick compensation). The Rangers have done legwork on Bourn, according to Crasnick, who notes that the Braves haven’t ruled out a reunion with the center fielder. Bourn could appeal to the Mariners, and Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik told Crasnick that he continues seeking bats.
"We have had a lot of dialogue regarding offense, but we would be open to anything," Zduriencik said.
Boras denied reports that he circled back to ask the Yankees about their interest in a one-year deal with Soriano. The Tigers continue expressing confidence in internal relief options such as Bruce Rondon, though they’re viewed as a possible suitor for Soriano along with the Blue Jays. However, Toronto would likely be reluctant to surrender a draft pick to sign the closer.
As for Lohse, the Rockies and Mets want starters, but prefer affordable options. Some view the Angels and Rangers as potential suitors for the right-hander, though their interest level remains unclear. While the Brewers could use pitching, GM Doug Melvin said he’s decided “this is the year we're probably going to go with some of our younger guys."
MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes will interview Peter Gammons of MLB Network tomorrow, and if you have any particular questions you’d like Tim to ask the Hall of Famer we’d like to hear them. To get in touch you can leave a comment below, reach us on Twitter (@mlbtraderumors) or use MLBTR’s contact form. Here are today’s links...
- An executive who asked the Twins about Joe Mauer heard the catcher isn't available, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports (on Twitter). Not only does Mauer have a no-trade clause, he's the face of the Twins and Minnesota isn't looking to dump salary.
- Yahoo's Tim Brown tells the story of a recent meeting between Scott Boras and Marvin Miller. Check out Brown’s entire piece, which includes some thoughtful quotes from Boras and is definitely worth your time. Miller, the first executive director of the MLBPA, died this week at the age of 95.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com previews the outfield market in the aftermath of B.J. Upton’s five-year, $75.25MM contract with the Braves. The Phillies’ best offer to Upton was worth $55MM over five years, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports (on Twitter). The Red Sox weren't in on Upton, but have been in on Shane Victorino, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports (on Twitter).
- Chan Ho Park is set to announce his retirement tomorrow, reports Korea's Yonhap News Agency (passed on by C. Trent Rosecrans of CBS Sports). The 39-year-old right-hander was the first Korean-born player to reach the Major Leagues, posting a 4.36 ERA in 476 games over his 17 seasons in MLB from 1994-2010. Park earned $85.46MM (hat tip to Baseball Reference) during his Major League career and pitched for seven teams. Park spent the last two seasons pitching in Japan and South Korea, respectively.
- Team president David Samson discussed the trade, management's reasoning behind the move and how the Marlins are reacting to the negative publicity in a radio interview with Dan Le Batard on 790 AM Radio (Steven Cuce of SportsRadioInterviews.com has a partial transcript).
- Also from the interview (passed on by Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post), Samson said that Ricky Nolasco won't be traded this winter and will be a Marlin in 2013 unless "the phone rings and something crazy happens."
- The Marlins' team policy of not giving no-trade clauses has kept Scott Boras from directing his clients to Miami for the last 16 years, Boras tells Bob Nightengale of USA Today. "I've never had a franchise player there because it was just not something my client wanted to risk," Boras said. "They (Marlins executives) were always upfront about it. They told me, 'We don't do no-trade clauses.' But it's very difficult to sell an expectancy to a player knowing that it might last for only one year."
- The Marlins talked to the Diamondbacks about Jose Reyes before eventually including Reyes in the Toronto deal, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney. The D'Backs are known to be looking for help at third base and shortstop, despite acquiring Cliff Pennington earlier this month. We heard yesterday that Miami had also discussed Reyes with the Red Sox prior to the big trade.
Links from around baseball..
- David Lennon of Newsday ran down his predictions for the top free agents on this winter's market. Lennon sees Josh Hamilton landing with the Brewers on a five-year deal and B.J. Upton getting a six-year pact from the Phillies. Of course, MLBTR readers can put themselves in the mix for great prizes in our second annual free agent prediction contest.
- The Indians should follow the example of the Athletics and overhaul their team this offseason, opines ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Insider sub. req'd). Olney suggests that Cleveland can start the fire sale by trading shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to a team such as the A's, Mariners, Red Sox, or Yankees.
- Speaking of the Tribe, Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer looks at how a tight financial situation and bad trades combined to hurt the Indians in recent years.
- MLBTR has learned that Orioles left-hander Zach Phillips has rejected his outright assignment to Triple-A Norfolk and elected free agency. Phillips, 26, posted a 3.17 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 42 Triple-A outings last season.
- The Cardinals may pursue short-term fixes at both shortstop and second base rather than entrust their depth to organizational players such as Pete Kozma, Ryan Jackson, or Kolten Wong, writes Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- The Rockies could decide on their new manager early this week, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Bench coach Tom Runnells, veteran slugger Jason Giambi, former Rockies shortstop Walt Weiss, and current Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams make up the club's final four of candidates.
- Scott Boras takes a few minutes out of his busy schedule to chat with FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi about the offseason and how new television revenue will fuel spending over the next few months.
- While strong numbers during a contract year may benefit free agents, teams aren't guaranteed to see a repeat performance from their new investments the following season, writes Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.
Daniel Seco contributed to this post.
Jose Valverde said he has hired Scott Boras to represent him this offseason, John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press reports. The 34-year-old right-hander will hit free agency in a matter of weeks when his multiyear contract with the Tigers expires.
Valverde downplayed the significance of the switch, saying "people change agents all the time." Last August Valverde switched agencies, leaving Praver/Shapiro for Proformance. The Tigers exercised their 2012 option months later, delaying Valverde’s free agency by a year.
In 65 innings this year, Valverde has a 4.02 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9. He has 31 saves and an average fastball velocity of 93.3 mph. Be sure to check out MLBTR's Agency Database for information about each MLB player's representatives.
David Wright is more than a year away from hitting free agency, but the Mets hope to sign him to an extension sooner, rather than later, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. The Mets don’t want to experience the tension that would occur if Wright enters the 2013 without a long-term deal, and the team’s officials sound confident they’ll find common ground with the ACES client this offseason.
Wright earns $15MM this season and his contract includes a $16MM club option for 2013 ($1MM buyout) that will definitely be exercised. The 29-year-old is playing at an MVP level this year, which means the Mets probably can’t expect to lock him up for a deal similar to Ryan Zimmerman’s six-year, $100MM contract.
Cano's contract status is similar to Wright's. The second baseman earns $14MM this year and his contract includes a $15MM club option ($2MM buyout for 2013). Like Wright, Cano is playing at an MVP level and his contract option is sure to be picked up. The Yankees have a club policy of waiting for players to hit free agency before negotiating contracts, but Cano says he’d listen if the Yankees have a proposal.
“I am always open to hearing anything,” he said, according to Sherman. “If it works for both sides, that is great. But I have to hear an offer.”
The Yankees aim to avoid the luxury tax by 2014, so GM Brian Cashman might have to get creative to retain Cano and Curtis Granderson (Granderson is also under team control through 2013). Cano, 29, felt underpaid on the contract he signed with his previous representatives and wants to make a score on his next contract, Sherman reports.
Agent Scott Boras, who represents Cano, said it costs elite prices to buy elite players out of free agent years. Boras pointed out that the Yankees generate far more revenue than most teams and said clubs sometimes have to commit to ten-year deals for the privilege of locking up an elite player for his prime years.
The latest notes and rumors from Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports...
- At least one team has inquired about Alfonso Soriano, Morosi reports. The Cubs outfielder earns $18MM per season through 2014, so the Cubs will presumably cover most of his salary in a trade.
- Four general managers say Cliff Lee isn’t yet formally available, according to Rosenthal and Morosi. Yet other executives expect the Phillies to consider trade offers for the left-hander this week. Lee, who has three years and $87.5MM remaining on his contract after this season, can block trades to 21 teams. The Rangers and Yankees are not among those teams, Rosenthal and Morosi report. The FOX Sports reporters suggest Rangers GM Jon Daniels prefers Lee to Cole Hamels.
- Agent Scott Boras now represents Tigers outfielder Brennan Boesch, Morosi reports (on Twitter). Be sure to check MLBTR’s Agency Database for data on which agents represent which MLB players.
- The Dodgers could trade for Shane Victorino or Hunter Pence even if the team gets Ryan Dempster to go along with Hanley Ramirez, Rosenthal reports (on Twitter). The Dodgers have been in talks with the Phillies, who are eager to move Pence, according to Rosenthal.
- The Cubs continue discussing Matt Garza with multiple suitors, Morosi reports (on Twitter). The Dodgers appear to have serious interest in Garza.
- The Royals are talking with teams about possible trades involving closer Jonathan Broxton, Morosi reports (on Twitter).
With the Pirates looking for their first interleague sweep in 11 years, GM Neal Huntington met with reporters before the game, including Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Sulia).
- On signing first round draft choice Mark Appel, Huntington says "it's a challenging sign." Scott Boras is advising Appel and Biertempfel references other Boras clients who were tough signs but came to terms. Biertempfel thinks negotiations will heat up as the July 13 deadline approaches.
- Huntington was asked about dealing with Boras, "We've dealt with him a handful of times, both on the amateur market and on Major League free-agent market. He's ... There's a reason he's negotiated all the contracts he's negotiated. It, uh ... it is what it is."
- Huntington described the team's sales pitch to its draft picks, "We talk about who we are as an organization, the success that's coming through our deep and talented farm system and the role they can play in that. You throw the money at them and sometimes that's the final, and maybe only, deciding factor."