Scott Rolen Rumors
Thirty-one years ago today, the Cubs and Phillies swapped shortstops with Ivan DeJesus heading to Philadelphia and Larry Bowa going to Chicago. The Cubs also acquired a 22-year-old prospect by the name of Ryne Sandberg. This prospect managed to be named the 1984 National League MVP, played 16 years, finished with a career slash line of .285/.344/.452, and was enshrined into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005. Let's take a look at the news and notes involving the Cubs and the rest of the Senior Circuit:
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer told Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette on SiriusXM's MLB Network Radio "never say never...but likely this is the team we go to Spring Training with," Bowden tweeted.
- Regarding Matt Garza, Hoyer told Bowden and Duquette the focus is to get him healthy and into the Cubs' rotation; but, that could change since Garza will become a free agent after the 2013 season and the team needs to collect talent (Twitter link).
- Homer Bailey says "nothing has been mentioned at all" about a long-term contract with the Reds, but "it would be something to consider," reports Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. The arbitration eligible right-hander says the arb process has been slower this year because of the Reds' large arbitration class, but "it will all work itself out." You can follow all arbitration cases by using the MLBTR Arbitration Tracker.
- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has reached out to Scott Rolen to express the team's interest in him, according to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. Mattingly said he spoke to Rolen about what the Dodgers envision his role would be, but did not ask Rolen specifically about his decision making or timing. The Dodgers see the 37-year-old as insurance if Luis Cruz fails at third base, as well as a potential right-handed-hitting backup to Adrian Gonzalez at first base.
- Braves GM Frank Wren sat down for an interview with Bill Shanks of the Macon Telegraph and spoke in great detail about the Justin Upton trade, the financial flexibility the deal gives the Braves, and whether future payrolls will be increased from the current $98MM.
- Nationals relievers Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard were both surprised by the signing of Rafael Soriano, but believe he makes the team better, writes Amanda Comak of the Washington Times. GM Mike Rizzo met with Storen and Clippard this weekend to reassure them that acquiring Soriano was not a reflection on their abilities, Comak added.
Colin Kaepernick is on the verge of a Super Bowl championship with the 49ers but he could've been a Chicago Cub after being drafted in the 43rd round of the 2009 amateur draft. ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine has the story of how the Cubs took a flyer on Kaepernick, who reportedly had a 90-mph fastball as a right-handed pitching prospect.
Here's the latest from the Cubs and elsewhere around the NL Central...
- Theo Epstein feels his team has a greater need for young pitching than it does for position player prospects but that doesn't necessarily mean Chicago will choose a young arm with the second overall pick in June's amateur draft, the Cubs president told media (including CSNChicago.com's Patrick Mooney). "It’s interesting because in the history of the draft, the best bets up top are position players because of the uncertainty and the attrition and injury risk of pitchers," Epstein said. "So those are pretty real trends over time. We’re going to take the best player available."
- The Reds hope to hear from Scott Rolen this week about the third baseman's playing future, GM Walt Jocketty told media (including Tom Groeschen of the Cincinnati Enquirer). Rolen has been mulling retirement but has said that the Reds are his first choice if he does continue playing.
- The Brewers have an internal budget of around $85MM for 2013, a significant drop from the team's record $101MM payroll from 2012, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. The drop has been attributed to management's desire to retain flexibility for future moves and an unwillingness to spend on what the Brewers felt was an overinflated pitching market. Haudricourt hears from a source that the Brewers "lost several million dollars" in 2012.
- With so many other NL teams making big moves this winter, Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders if the Cardinals will be able to stay in contention after a relatively quiet offseason.
It's time for players such as Buster Posey, Mike Trout and Jason Heyward to get long-term contract extensions, Jim Bowden writes at ESPN.com. Many players, perhaps even some of those on Bowden's list, will sign extensions in the coming months, and MLBTR's Extension Tracker will document all of the deals. In the meantime, here are today’s links...
- Though Scott Rolen hasn't made a final decision about whether to play in 2013, he has told people that the Reds would be his top choice if he does return, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports (Twitter link).
- CAA now represents reliever Boone Logan, MLBTR has confirmed. The Yankees recently avoided arbitration with the left-hander, agreeing to a one-year, $3.15MM deal for 2013. Be sure to rely on MLBTR’s Agency Database for all agency-related queries.
- The Tigers don’t appear to be close to trading Rick Porcello, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (Twitter links). Knobler adds that there’s no real pressure to move Porcello in the immediate future despite Detroit’s starting pitching depth. The Tigers have also been calling around trying to move Brennan Boesch, Knobler reports.
On this day in 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave baseball the go-ahead to play despite World War II. In his famous "Green Light Letter" FDR said‚ "I honestly think it would be best for the country to keep baseball going." He also encouraged more night baseball so that day-shift workers would have the opportunity to attend games.
Here's the latest news and headlines from around the National League...
- The Cardinals' hope for building a successful middle infield in 2013 will be closely tied to the health of shortstop Rafael Furcal, writes Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. The 35-year-old veteran suffered a season-ending elbow injury in August.
- The Reds have yet to hear back from Scott Rolen regarding his plans for the 2013 season, says John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The 37-year-old third baseman posted a .245/.318/.398 batting line in 2012.
- Count the Dodgers as a potential suitor for Rolen's services as the team looks to strengthen the left side of its infield, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Rolen has enjoyed success at Dodgers Stadium over the course of his career as he's batted .338 with a .955 OPS.
As Ben Nicholson-Smith wrote this week, Reds GM Walt Jocketty knows the value of adapting on the go. Jocketty had some curveballs thrown his way this winter but was able to adjust and put together a solid lineup in Cincinnati. “You have to have a plan, an initial plan, and you have to adapt,” said Jocketty. “We had several things planned last winter but you’ll have more than one plan -- put it that way. You just have a basic plan and you work your way through it.” Here's a few more notes on the Reds, courtesy of John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer..
- Scott Rolen hasn't told the club whether he wants to play or retire, but manager Dusty Baker sounds prepared to move on without the veteran. “It’s getting late,” Baker said. “Life goes on and business goes on. Since we signed [Jack] Hannahan, it’s getting crowded. Plus, (Todd) Frazier deserves a chance to play," said the skipper.
- The Reds announced that Shin-Soo Choo would be slotted in center field as soon as they traded for him, but Jay Bruce offered to fill the position if necessary. Bruce phoned Baker and volunteered to come in lighter in case Choo is better fit in right than center. The plan remains to use the former Indians slugger in center, however.
- Other than figuring out who goes where in the outfield, the Reds don’t have a lot of questions on their roster. Baker seems comfortable with the team as is, saying that the team is "as set" as it's been in his tenure there.
MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker allows you to review the offseason's new contracts and navigate all remaining free agents. Here are the latest rumors on a handful of free agent position players...
- Bob Nightengale and Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today break down potential destinations and contracts for the top remaining free agents, including Josh Hamilton and Nick Swisher. Nightengale notes (on Twitter) that the Rangers will get the last chance at signing Hamilton and reports that they haven’t yet gotten that call.
- Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com wonders what Adam LaRoche is waiting on. The Nationals offered the free agent first baseman a two-year contract and told him they won't offer additional years, Kolko writes. The Orioles, Mariners and Rangers could also have interest in the 33-year-old LaRoche.
- Scott Rolen has suggested to the Reds that he might want to return for another season and the team would be “more than happy” to give him a chance, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. The Reds, who recently agreed to terms with infielder Jack Hannahan, believe Rolen can help on and off of the field.
A number of free agents have found deals in Nashville this week, but there are still a ton available, including 29 of our top 50. Here's the latest on a few of the remaining options:
- Scott Rolen remains undecided on whether he'll retire or continue his playing career, his agent tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. If Rolen decides he wants to play, Fay believes the Reds could be interested in bringing him back in some role.
- Former Rockie Ryan Spilborghs is drawing serious interest in Japan, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link).
- The Mariners like Michael Bourn "very much," though the Phillies and Rangers remain in on the speedy outfielder, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
- A couple reasons the Angels' interest in Brandon McCarthy has picked up in Nashville are his age (29) and the fact that he likely won't command more than a two-year deal, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
- Stephen Drew figures to land at least a two-year deal, which would probably take the Tigers out of the running, says MLB.com's Jason Beck. The Red Sox continue to be in on Drew, however, according to WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.
- In their hunt for left-handed relief help, the Cardinals have inquired on Manny Parra and explored what it would take to sign Sean Burnett, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cards are expected to find their man fairly soon, says Goold.
- Dan Johnson, who was non-tendered by the White Sox last week, is interested in returning to the Rays, but may end up in Japan, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
In his latest blog post, ESPN's Jayson Stark points out that just five teams have $100MM+ committed to their 2013 payroll right now: the Dodgers, Yankees, Phillies, Tigers, and Blue Jays. None of those teams appear to be done this offseason either. Here's the rest of Stark's rumors...
- The Phillies have kicked around the idea of a contract extension for Roy Halladay, though GM Ruben Amaro said that "a lot has to do with how he feels and how he performs. So that's a decision and a conversation that would probably have to go into the spring, and maybe into the season."
- The two sides actually had preliminary talks about a new contract that would raise Halladay's annual salary north of $24MM and keep him with the Phillies beyond next season. Talks were shelved when the right-hander's shoulder began to act up, however.
- Stark hears that Josh Hamilton is no longer on the Phillies' list, and Amaro said they "haven't been given a real budget. I know it's not unlimited, but that's not usually how we work."
- Teams continue to check in with the Rays about their starting pitchers, and the asking price for James Shields is in the neighborhood of the five-player package Tampa received for Matt Garza two winters ago.
- Those same clubs don't believe the Mets have really put R.A. Dickey on the trade market yet.
- Rumors swirl that Zack Greinke is seeking a six-year contract, but his agent Casey Close has yet to ask for specific offers.
- Scott Rolen has told the Reds he may play next season, but he isn't ready to make a final decision tweets Stark. The team wants him back in some role.
Today is the 63rd anniversary of Jackie Robinson becoming the first African-American player to win the MVP Award. This would be the only such honor during Robinson's Hall of Fame career. Here's the latest news from the Senior Circuit:
- Negotiations between the Nationals and Adam LaRoche are going slowly, a source tells MLB.com's Bill Ladson. The source also says LaRoche's top priority is to return to the Nationals, but the free agent first baseman is thinking about his two children, which is why he wants a three-year deal and has talked with several teams.
- A five-year, $75MM contract might be accurate for B.J. Upton but expect Michael Bourn to seek more, tweets Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- Despite the declining influence of home runs to change a game, as typified by the Giants winning the World Series after slugging the fewest home runs in baseball, the Phillies still need a power surge in 2013, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Bob Brookover.
- Centerfield is one position where the Phillies could seek to boost their power output. ESPN's Buster Olney breaks down their various centerfield options in his latest Insiders-only blog.
- John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer sees the Reds' 2013 payroll being $92MM, but a team insider tells him the actual number could start with an eight. This would make it difficult, in Fay's opinion, to do anything in free agency except sign a closer or re-sign Ryan Ludwick.
- Within the same piece, GM Walt Jocketty says he will wait until after Thanksgiving to speak with Scott Rolen, who is contemplating retirement.
- The Cardinals' needs are simple for 2013, writes Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The team needs to reinforce a thin bench by adding some right-handed power and find a fourth outfielder who can generate some offense. Miklasz adds the health of shortstop Rafael Furcal is also a significant question.
- Blessed with the deepest of pockets, the Dodgers' desire to pursue an elite starting pitcher reveals myriad ways the team can approach the process, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. Common sense, however, may still prevail at Chavez Ravine as Dodgers controlling partner Mark Walter once eloquently stated, "Pitchers break."
Daniel Seco contributed to this post.
Earlier today, we learned that Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty was set to meet with manager Dusty Baker to offer him a short-term contract. For his part, the 63-year-old has said that he is definitely looking to continue his managerial career. Here's more on Baker and other news out of Cincy..
- Jocketty wouldn't confirm whether he offered the veteran skipper a contract when they met, but he seems confident that there will be some news on that front on Monday or Tuesday, writes John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The GM added that the contracts of the team's coaches will be addressed after Baker's situation is taken care of, but he also said yesterday that they are all expected to return.
- Meanwhile, Jocketty has also heard the reports of Scott Rolen planning to retire, but he isn't so sure that will be the case, Fay writes. “He hasn’t told us that,” Jocketty said. “I’ve talked to him. I don’t think he knows what he wants to do.” If Rolen wants to continue playing, the GM said that the Reds would be interested in having him back in some capacity.
- A baseball source familiar with the Baker situation told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com that the forecast was "optimistic" that Baker and his staff would be back.