Scott Kazmir Rumors
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe looks at the Red Sox's shortstop position after the trade of Marco Scutaro. Major league evaluators are skeptical that Mike Aviles and Nick Punto can get the job done, which could leave the door open to prospect Jose Iglesias getting the nod. All eyes will be on manager Bobby Valentine to see how he handles the club's shortstop situation this spring. Here's more from Cafardo..
- Two GMs told Cafardo that Jorge Soler will go for more than the five years and $15MM-$20MM most thought he would settle for. Some of the clubs who elected to stay away on Yoenis Cespedes because of the hefty price and question marks about his game have decided that Soler is a better value. The Red Sox are one of about eight teams in on Soler.
- Mike Gonzalez is likely headed to the Rangers if they can trade Koji Uehara. The A's have also been connected to the free agent reliever recently.
- The Yankees prefer Raul Ibanez to Johnny Damon because of cost. Damon is seeking about $5MM while Ibanez will likely be in the $1.5MM-$2MM range.
- Angels veteran Bobby Abreu would have gone back to the Yankees in an A.J. Burnett deal. The Halos have a logjam with Kendry Morales returning and Albert Pujols at first base and Abreu has been offered around.
- The Red Sox didn’t attend Scott Kazmir’s workout on Friday and have no plans to watch Brandon Webb throw when he is on display. That's because Boston decided not to delve into the rehab market for pitchers. The club has tried a number of pitchers coming back from serious injury and in most cases, it hasn't worked out.
- Cafardo wonders if Cardinals backup Tyler Greene is worth a look for the Red Sox shortstop mix. The 27-year-old was once a promising prospect and is out of options this year.
Here are some notes from around the majors as we head into Friday evening...
- ESPN's Jayson Stark looks back at the offseason, surveying 20 baseball personnel people about which teams made the best and worst moves of the winter. A sample: the Phillies' deal with Jonathan Papelbon was judged to be the offseason's worst free agent signing.
- About 10 scouts attended Scott Kazmir's workout session today, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter links). The southpaw threw between 86-89 mph, with his top pitch reportedly hitting 91 mph by one scout's measurements.
- The Mets aren't interested in Kazmir "at this time," a source tells Newsday's David Lennon. According to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, the Mets didn't send a scout to see Kazmir throw, though on Wednesday a "high ranking person" with the Mets said they would have someone in attendance (both Twitter links).
- The Braves haven't begun extension talks with catcher Brian McCann, reports David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 2012 is McCann's last season under contract, though Atlanta holds a $12MM option on him for 2013 that looks like a strong bet to be exercised. O'Brien thinks the Braves could wait until next winter to begin negotiations.
- Padres owner Jeff Moorad and GM Josh Byrnes are both very pleased with the club's offseason, reports Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
- The Athletics seem focused on acquiring young talent this offseason, but Casey Tefertiller of Baseball America notes that some of these prospects are being blocked by Oakland's veteran signings.
Condolences go out to the family of Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, who passed away today following a long bout with cancer. He was 57. Carter hit .262/.335/.439 and made eleven All-Star Games in his 19 seasons, 12 of which came with the Expos. He backstopped the Mets to the 1986 World Championship. Here is some news from around the league...
- The 142 players who filed for arbitration last month averaged a 112% raise reports the AP (via ESPN). That's down from 123% last offseason and the lowest average raise since 106% in 2007. Check out our Arbitration Tracker for the answers to all of your arbitration questions.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels reiterated that contract extension talks with Josh Hamilton are on hold, reports Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas. "The priority needs to be his recovery and his family and, secondarily, getting ready for the season," said the GM. "We're not going to get in the way of those things with contract talk.
- The Diamondbacks have signed 16-year-old Dominican right-hander Luis Castillo for $80K according to a release, which said his fastball sits 84-87 mph. He also throws a curveball and a changeup.
- The trade market is likely to heat up as the season progresses, writes MLB.com's Richard Justice. As he explains, most GMs feel confident in their team this time of year and prefer to take their time evaluating needs.
- Scott Kazmir, who had been scheduled to pitch in front of scouts yesterday, won’t audition until Friday, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney tweets. The left-handed free agent is feeling well, Olney writes.
- Brandon Webb is throwing painlessly off of flat ground, agent Jonathan Maurer told Olney. Webb will throw in front of scouts at some point, Olney tweets.
- Newsday’s Ken Davidoff adds up teams’ payroll commitments for 2015 and beyond and finds that nine clubs -- the Orioles, Cubs, Indians, Astros, Royals, Mets, Padres, Giants and Mariners -- haven’t committed a thing for ’15 or beyond.
- Yahoo’s Jeff Passan examines the market for the top remaining free agents, including Roy Oswalt, Mike Gonzalez and a crowd of designated hitters.
- Joe Jordan, the Phillies' new director of player development, breaks down a number of the team's top prospects with Joe Berkery of the Philadelphia Daily News.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
- The Red Sox will not be one of the teams in attendance for Scott Kazmir's workout tomorrow, reports Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe (on Twitter). The southpaw's audition was supposed to be today, but it was pushed back.
- Korean pitching prospect Seong-Min Kim originally agreed to a $575K deal with the Orioles, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports.
- Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun hears that while MLB hasn't approved the contract between the Orioles and the 17-year-old left-hander, MLB didn't technically void it. In any case it seems the deal for Kim will not go through as originally announced.
- A Red Sox official expects compensation for Theo Epstein to be finalized "very soon," Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets. The Red Sox and Cubs recently sent briefs to the commissioner's office explaining their perspective on the issue of how to compensate Boston for Epstein's departure to Chicago.
- Agent Barry Meister didn't comment on whether Tim Wakefield will accept a minor league deal from the Red Sox, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com tweets. It doesn't appear that Wakefield will accept the offer, Edes writes.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
The Mets took a chance on Jason Isringhausen exactly one year ago, signing him to a minor league deal. Isringhausen collected his 300th career save in 2011, and the Mets obtained 46 2/3 innings of 4.05 ERA baseball from the 39-year-old right-hander. We haven’t heard much about Isringhausen’s free agent prospects in recent weeks, but we do have some links from the NL East...
- Ten years ago the Mets made Scott Kazmir their first round pick. Much has changed in the last decade, but the Mets have some interest in bringing the left-hander back, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets. The Mets were expected to have someone in attendance at Kazmir's audition in Houston today.
- Brian McCann said he's not concerned about signing an extension for 2014 and beyond, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweets. The Braves have a 2013 option for McCann on his current contract and they figure to exercise if after the season.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. joined Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy on MLB Network Radio and said he's still hoping to work out an extension with left-hander Cole Hamels. The sides haven't set a deadline for a long-term deal.
- Amaro suggested the Phillies don't have the payroll flexibility required to add Roy Oswalt. "I just don't know that it's a fit for us right now," he said.
- The Phillies and Marlins are among the teams eyeing Cuban outfield prospect Jorge Soler.
- Both the Brewers and agent Bryce Dixon used Kameron Loe's recent $2.175MM agreement to argue their respective cases in the Veras hearing, MLB.com's Adam McCalvy reports.
- It's been 25 days since the arbitration hearing for Ryan Braun's appeal of a positive drug test began, but the soft deadline passed without a decision, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. A decision is expected within ten days.
- The Pirates were impressed by Dmitri Young's workout yesterday, but they won't offer him a contract, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets. Manager Clint Hurdle said he got a good read on the the 38-year-old after yesterday’s workout.
- The Astros have already seen Scott Kazmir throw, so they don't intend to watch him audition in front of scouts tomorrow, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com tweets.
Reds GM Walt Jocketty expects to start Spring Training without making further changes to the team's roster, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Fay says the club will review its roster this week, but that it's "pretty well set." Here are some more notes from the GM:
- The Reds haven't been in touch with Roy Oswalt's agents in the past week. “I think he’s waiting for Texas to clear money,” Jocketty said. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark said on Friday that Oswalt isn't going to sign with the Rangers or Phillies, however. Perhaps the Red Sox or Cardinals will make a late push for the right-hander.
- The Reds are not interested in watching Scott Kazmir audition in front of scouts, Jocketty said. The free agent left-hander is looking for an opportunity with an MLB club and will pitch in front of an audience this Wednesday.
- Aroldis Chapman is healthy and the Reds intend to work him out as a starter this spring.
On this day in 1988, the Padres traded Rich Gossage and Ray Hayward to the Cubs for Mike Brumley and Keith Moreland. Here's a look at today's links..
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that the Yankees and Red Sox are no longer alone as financial superpowers. Sherman also looks at five offseason market trends that will impact the 2012 season and beyond.
- In analyzing the Orioles' collection of non-roster invitees and the 40-man roster decisions they'll face this Spring, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes that Baltimore would eat a portion of Kevin Gregg's $5.8MM salary to trade him. Kubatko also speculates that an out of options player like Pedro Strop could be moved during Spring Training.
- Free agent Scott Kazmir is set to throw for scouts in Houston on Wednesday, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
- Jorge De La Rosa will undoubtedly exercise his $11MM player option for 2013 as he rehabs from elbow surgery, writes Troy Renck of The Denver Post. If he does that, the Rockies receive a $11MM club option for 2014.
- Red Sox officials seem to think they’ll know what they’ll be getting from the Cubs “before the official start of spring training,’’ but it's not clear if that refers to when pitchers and catchers report or when the full squad arrives, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
- If Magglio Ordoñez doesn't find a big-league job this season, he will have his own professional baseball club waiting for him in his native Venezuela, writes Robert Downs of the Detroit Free Press. The slugger is set purchase shares in the Caribes de Anzoátegui when he retires.
- The Indians and Casey Kotchman never talked about anything but a one-year deal, writes Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer. The first baseman signed with the Tribe for $3MM earlier this month.
As ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark points out, the NL Central will look considerably different in 2012, now that Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols and Tony La Russa have moved on. Ryan Braun could miss 50 games with a suspension that would make the division even less recognizable. Here are Stark’s latest notes and rumors:
- Scouts and executives doubt Miguel Cabrera will be able to play third base with much skill in 2012.
- One AL executive suggests the Tigers would have to eat a lot of money to trade Victor Martinez next offseason. Insurance will likely cover approximately half of the switch hitter’s 2012 salary of $13MM, Stark writes.
- Stark hears that the Phillies have sent signals that they might make Joe Blanton available this spring.
- Jason Bartlett has been available this winter and the Red Sox could pursue him, Stark writes. However, the shortstop will earn $5.5MM in 2012 and the Red Sox aim to stay below the luxury tax threshold.
- Scott Kazmir intends to pitch in 2012, but his fastball velocity is in the 84-85 mph range. The 28-year-old appeared in one game for the Angels last year and they released him after a rough stretch at Triple-A.
- There’s every indication that the commissioner’s office will discipline Juan Carlos Oviedo/Leo Nunez and Roberto (Heredia) Hernandez/Fausto Carmona for using false identities.
- Though many have told Bud Selig that adding a second Wild Card team to each league this year will create scheduling issues, the commissioner seems intent on expanding the playoffs in 2012, and Stark expects him to get his wish.
Here are Wednesday's updates on a few players on the free agent market:
- Takashi Saito's agent, Nez Balelo, says six to eight teams have shown interest in his client, who is open to playing in either league, tweets WEEI's Alex Speirer.
- Balelo also tells Speier that Japanese outfielder and six-time NPB All-Star Norichika Aoki will be posted next Monday (Twitter link).
- With milestones in reach, Vladimir Guerrero intends to keep playing, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network (on Twitter).
- Scott Kazmir will make his Dominican Winter League debut with the Escogido Lions tonight, tweets Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes.