Scott Hairston Rumors
Earlier today we learned that while the Mets are in need of outfield depth, they won't be considering high-priced free agent Michael Bourn. That doesn't come as a huge surprise given their financial constraints, but they could be closing in on a much more affordable outfield piece. Here's the latest out of the Queens and the Bronx..
- While the Mets continue to talk to Scott Hairston, it would appear that the Yankees are not as involved at the moment, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. The Mets have a leg up over the Yankees in that they can offer him a starting job.
- Despite rumblings to the contrary, Rafael Soriano did not offer to return to the Yankees on a one-year deal, Heyman tweets. Soriano wants to close in 2013 and that's not an option with the Bombers.
- The Mets picked up Terry Collins' 2013 option at the end of the 2011 season to avoid making him a lame duck, but they won't give the skipper a contract extension to circumvent that prior to the season, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. General Manager Sandy Alderson acknowledged that there is the possibility that it could become an issue, but he expressed confidence that Collins would handle it in stride.
- Alderson also told Rubin that regardless of whether Travis d'Arnaud starts the season in Triple-A or in the majors, the team's Opening Day catchers are likely already on the 40-man roster. If the former Blue Jay opens the season in the minors, John Buck will probably start with waiver claim Anthony Recker in support.
The Orioles showed serious interest in Justin Upton before talks with the Diamondbacks sputtered, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported last night. Here are some more of Rosenthal’s notes from around MLB...
- Rosenthal hears from one executive who expects the Padres to make another significant move. However, the Padres like their group of young starting pitchers and aren’t inclined to make a strong play for one of the remaining free agent starters. San Diego could still trade for a pitcher such as Rick Porcello, Luke Hochevar or Aaron Harang.
- Talks about a deal involving Upton and Chase Headley didn’t progress, Rosenthal reports.
- The Orioles continue seeking starting pitching and Joe Saunders remains a target. The Orioles also checked in on Porcello, according to Rosenthal.
- Though the Orioles spoke with Lance Berkman before he signed with the Rangers, they weren’t interested in spending big for the switch-hitting DH.
- Jeff Karstens, Derek Lowe, Aaron Cook and Jair Jurrjens are among the possibilities the Rockies are considering. The Rockies wouldn’t offer all of those pitchers Major League deals, however.
- Rosenthal suggests free agent reliever Rafael Soriano could be a longshot for the Rockies. Colorado would have to surrender its second round draft pick to sign the Scott Boras client.
- The Phillies continue seeking a right-handed hitting outfielder, Rosenthal reports. They’re still considering free agent Scott Hairston and trade candidates Alfonso Soriano and Vernon Wells. It’s possible the Phillies will go with platoons in both corner outfield positions.
TUESDAY: The Yankees are pessimistic about signing Hairston, Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com reports (on Twitter). The outfielder could get more playing time elsewhere.
MONDAY: It appears unlikely that Scott Hairston will be leaving New York this offseason, but that doesn't mean he won't change teams. ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews spoke to Hairston's agent Casey Close and was told that Hairston is in ongoing talks with the Yankees and Mets. Close told Matthews that his client will likely make a decision in "a matter of days."
Hairston would likely have to settle for a fourth outfielder's role with the Yankees, in which he'd back up Ichiro Suzuki and Brett Gardner while providing manager Joe Girardi with a lethal weapon against left-handed pitching off the bench. The 32-year-old batted .286/.317/.550 against southpaws in 2012 and boasts a career line of .276/.325/.500 against opposite-handed pitching.
The Mets, on the other hand, could use Hairston every day, but don't offer the same hope of reaching the postseason in 2013 having finished 74-88 in 2012 and traded away Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. General manager Sandy Alderson told Matthews' colleague Adam Rubin that the team might not make another outfield addition, but did concede that Hairston is one of the remaining "meaningful" free agents the team will consider signing. A trade for an outfielder is unlikely, according to the GM.
Hairston is known to be seeking a multiyear deal, which could pose a problem for the Yankees, as Matthews points out. The team has shied away from multiyear commitments all offseason as they look to get under the $189MM luxury tax threshold by 2014.
Mark Hale of the New York Post has a number of updates related to New York’s two teams. Here’s the latest (all links go to Twitter)...
- The Mets remain interested in Scott Hairston, Hale reports. GM Sandy Alderson has checked in on a number of outfielders, including Jason Kubel and Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks.
- Agent Dave Pepe, who represents free agent right-hander Carl Pavano, said there’s some mutual interest between the Mets and his client. "We clearly have an interest and I think they do too,” Pepe told Hale. “We’ll see where it goes.” The agent added that Pavano’s workouts are going well and that he’s drawing interest from multiple teams.
- The agent for Scott Podsednik said the Mets haven’t shown any interest in the free agent outfielder, Hale reports.
- Agent John Boggs said the Yankees and Mets are among five teams to express interest in free agent outfielder Ben Francisco. Playing time will figure into Francisco’s decision, according to Boggs. The right-handed hitting Francisco has a career line of .252/.329/.414 against left-handed pitching.
- The Yankees don’t have interest in Jim Thome, Hale reports.
The Phillies saw their streak of five consecutive NL East titles ended by the Nationals in 2012. But, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com writes there is optimism since the Phillies won 60% of their games after July 31 despite the health issues of Roy Halladay and Carlos Ruiz, trading away Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, and not having a reliable setup man for Jonathan Papelbon. The Phillies, however, enter the new year with several question marks which Zolecki says centers around the health of Halladay and Chase Utley, the continued recovery of Ryan Howard, and how much offense new acquistions Michael Young and Ben Revere will contribute. For more news and notes on the Phillies, Zolecki opened his inbox:
- Zolecki, when asked about the health of Halladay, quoted GM Ruben Amaro Jr. who recently said, "He's going to start throwing off the mound here very shortly. I guess he's working down there with Kyle Kendrick pretty extensively. He's doing well, but we don't know what kind of Doc we're going to get until Doc's down firing in Spring Training."
- Speaking of Kendrick, Zolecki believes he's a lock for the starting rotation as long as he remains healthy.
- Scott Hairston would be the best fit to fill one of the corner outfield vacancies. Zolecki notes the Phillies have tried to acquire Hairston in the past. Zolecki also mentioned Alfonso Soriano, who he thinks would slot in nicely hitting behind Utley and Howard.
- If the Phillies acquire a right-handed outfield bat, look for Darin Ruf to open the season at Triple-A.
- The Phillies don't have have enough top-tier talent to tempt the Marlins into trading Giancarlo Stanton to the City of Brotherly Love.
- Even after signing Matt Diaz to a minor league contract, the Yankees remain interested in Scott Hairston according to Kevin Kernan of The New York Post. The club is seeking a right-handed bat to complement their all-lefty hitting outfield.
- Phil Hughes could price himself out of New York with a strong season in 2013, opines Joel Sherman of The New York Post. The right-hander is due to become a free agent next winter and the Yankees are looking to get under the $189MM luxury tax threshold in 2014.
- Within the same piece, Sherman notes the Yankees will own three of the top 35 and four of the top 65 or so picks in next June's amateur draft. They're slated to receive compensation picks for Nick Swisher and Rafael Soriano.
- The Yankees have added former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu to their pro scouting staff, reports Ken Davidoff of The New York Post (on Twitter).
Condolences go out to the family and friends of former Major League utility man Ryan Freel. The 36-year-old was found dead at his home today after taking his own life according to Chad Cushnir of First Coast News and MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. Freel spent most of his career with the Reds, though he also suited up for the Blue Jays, Royals, Cubs, and Orioles.
Here's the latest from around the league as Saturday turns into Sunday...
- Livan Hernandez told MLB.com's Bill Ladson that he plans to play in 2013 (Twitter link). The 37-year-old right-hander posted a 6.42 ERA in 67 1/3 relief innings for the Braves and Brewers last season.
- Jason Grilli will take over as closer for the Pirates following the Joel Hanrahan trade according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). Heyman notes the right-hander does not have any bonuses based on games finished in his new contract.
- Nick Swisher is giving "serious consideration" to the four-year, $52MM offer from the Indians according to ESPN's Jim Bowden (on Twitter). The switch-hitting outfielder prefers the Dodgers, Angels, or Yankees though.
- The Phillies, Braves, Mets, and Yankees are among the teams still in play for Scott Hairston, reports Heyman (on Twitter). Heyman says the Yankees may be at a disadvantage because they already have three starting outfielders.
- In today's Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney says the Rangers should not overreact and drastically alter their plan after failing to land several top targets this offseason.
The Diamondbacks signed Cody Ross to a three-year, $26MM contract earlier today, and GM Kevin Towers told reporters (including MLB.com's Steve Gilbert) the two sides didn't start talking until this past Monday (Twitter link). Arizona is already working to move one of their extra outfielders in the wake of the signing. Here are some notes and reactions to the deal...
- Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic has the contract breakdown (on Twitter). Ross will earn $5MM in 2013, $8.5MM in both 2014 and 2015, and a $3MM signing bonus. The $9.5MM club option has a $1MM buyout.
- Towers told Gilbert and others that his phone "blew up" with teams calling about his spare outfielders today (all Twitter links). Ownership has given him the okay to open the season with all of their current outfielders, which would mean an Opening Day payroll in the $95MM range.
- Ross told reporters (including Gilbert) that he did not take give the Red Sox a chance to match Arizona's offer (Twitter link). He told the D'Backs he would not shop it around.
- Jason Kubel is much more likely to be traded than Justin Upton, says Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). ESPN's Buster Olney speculates that the Rangers, Yankees, Mariners, and Rays could be fits for Kubel (all Twitter links).
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers said he wanted to find more playing time for Gerardo Parra earlier this offseason, and Piecoro points out that the Ross addition complicates that plan even if they make a trade (Twitter link).
- Adam Rubin of ESPN New York asked Scott Hairston if he's any closer to signing following the Ross deal, and the free agent outfielder said it's still unclear (Twitter link).
- The Yankees are not close to a trade for an outfielder, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter links). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says the team continues to look for a right-handed bat, mentioning Vernon Wells, Scott Hairston, and Jeff Baker as targets.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Christian Red of The New York Daily News that there are no plans to further upgrade the team's rotation. New York re-signed Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte earlier this offseason.
- The Orioles removed Steve Pearce from the 40-man roster yesterday, and Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com wonders if the club could be adding another player in his place. Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun hears to would be a "kick-the-tires" addition and not a big name.
In today's column, Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) looks at the best second-tier and third-tier free agents remaining. Here's a look at the highlights..
- Joe Saunders is receiving interest from four clubs and the Orioles have ramped up their efforts to retain him. It seems Saunders would be in position to get more than the two-year, $15MM deal signed by Joe Blanton.
- Scott Hairston is looking for a significant raise over the $1.1MM he earned last season and he might wind up being too rich for the Mets' blood. Jonny Gomes is a similar player and got $10MM over two years from the Red Sox.
- Some teams see the significant increase in walks allowed last season by Joel Hanrahan as a red flag. After posting a 2.1 BB/9 rate in 2011, Hanrahan jumped to 5.4 in 2012. There is also some concern among rival evaluators that his diminished control is a sign of an arm issue. Hanrahan would argue that the control problems may have stemmed from the inconsistent save chances that a Bucs closer gets.
- Free agent reliever J.P. Howell should sign soon, perhaps with the Nationals. Other interested clubs include the Phillies, Cubs, Mariners, and Rangers.
- Travis Hafner would be a classic make-good guy to bring to spring training, but he won't fit all rosters because he can't play a position.
- Executives have reservations about Lance Berkman, including his health, overall shape, and motivation to play.
- Some have said that the Cubs overpaid for Edwin Jackson ($52MM over four years), but new financial restraints in the draft and international market have forced clubs to pay more. In short, the Cubs basically paid the going rate for a 29-year-old healthy pitcher of his caliber.