Seattle Mariners Rumors
Though he may not be traded at this week's Winter Meetings (and may not be traded this offseason at all), Rays ace David Price figures to be one of the most popular topics of discussion over the coming days. Last week, it was reported that the Mariners could push for Price in the wake of their surprising Robinson Cano signing. We'll keep track of today's rumors surrounding Price's availability right here...
- The Mariners believe that they could land Price if they were willing to include Taijuan Walker in their offer, says Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter links). However, the M's have no interest in including either Walker or James Paxton, and believe they made a mistake by including Walker in their bid for Justin Upton nearly a year ago. Seattle would prefer to build an offer for Price around position players, according to Heyman.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post is hearing the same sort of rumblings as Stark (linked below). D-Backs GM Kevin Towers and another exec told Sherman that the Rays have yet to push Price onto the market, and that their plan may involve waiting for teams to miss out on their first or second options, then capitalizing.
- Teams that have inquired on Price get the impression that the Rays aren't in any rush to make a deal, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. One rival executive believes GM Andrew Friedman will move deliberately in an attempt to get the price as high as possible, then perhaps pull back and waiting for interested teams to get even more desperate.
- Rays manager Joe Maddon believes it's "probably less likely" that the team would wait until next season to move Price, as Stark writes in a separate ESPN.com piece.
- The Mariners, Rangers and Dodgers are the three most serious suitors for Price at this time, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
- The Dodgers and Rays may be matching up on a Price trade, tweets Bruce Levine of WSCR.
- The Dodgers have made their interest in Price known to the Rays, reports Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. However, Hernandez feels that Price is a "long shot" to end up in Dodger Blue. For one, the Dodgers lack the type of impact, MLB-ready prospects the Rays will covet, as their top chips are teenagers Corey Seager and Julio Urias. Beyond that, dealing names like Seager and Urias would go against their desire to rebuild what has become a depleted farm system.
Considering how many teams continue to seek bullpen help, it shouldn't come as a surprise that we're following up our earlier post on reliever rumors with another round of them. Let's dive in...
- The Mets have kicked the tires on Chris Perez as a potential late-inning addition, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com (Twitter link). DiComo notes that Perez could serve as ninth-inning insurance for New York if Bobby Parnell isn't healthy.
- In addition to Perez, Mitchell Boggs is receiving interest from the Mets, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Boggs was non-tendered after a subpar 2013, but is viewed as an intriguing buy-low candidate by New York, says Sherman.
- Baltimore could be another potential fit for Perez, but the Orioles are also eyeing Grant Balfour and John Axford, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).
- The Mariners don't appear to be prioritizing bullpen additions at this point, according to GM Jack Zduriencik, who says that with their available money, the M's "would look at adding a legitimate closer as a lower priority" (Twitter link via Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune).
- Noting that Dave Dombrowski has suggested the Tigers may take a flier on a veteran as insurance for Bruce Rondon, MLB.com's Jason Beck wonders if Octavio Dotel might be a fit to return to Detroit (Twitter link).
Nelson Cruz is one of the top power bats remaining on the market. Here are Monday's rumors pertaining to the longtime Ranger...
- The Rangers' comfort level with Cruz has been a two-year deal to this point, according Olney (on Twitter). However, Cruz wants a three-year pact from the Rangers.
- The Rangers met with Cruz's agents today, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, who adds that a second meeting could take place tonight. The Rangers want Cruz back in Texas, Olney adds.
- The Orioles met with Cruz's agents at the Wasserman Media Group today, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). According to Rosenthal, the Rangers and Mariners also remain as possibilities for Cruz.
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik responded to this weekend's Seattle Times report pointing to dysfunction in the Mariners front office. The full response can be seen here, courtesy of MLB.com's Greg Johns. While it's too lengthy to post here in its entirety, Zduriencik was quick to dismiss many of the allegations, specifically refuting that former manager Eric Wedge had no interest in a contract extension. According to Zduriencik, Wedge asked for an extension multiple times and even demanded an extension the day before he quit. Here's more on Robinson Cano's new team...
- Top prospect Taijuan Walker's name has come up recently in David Price trade rumors, but Jack Z told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he expects Walker to be with the Mariners in 2014 (Twitter link).
- The Rangers are still open to dealing Elvis Andrus even after trading Ian Kinsler, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. However, Rosenthal categorizes the chances as being a huge long shot, noting that Texas would need a significant return (Twitter links).
- An executive that has shown interest in Athletics lefty Brett Anderson said that Brett Anderson is more of a "plan B" than "plan A" type of player (Twitter link). Sherman added in an appearance on the MLB Network that multiple teams are viewing Anderson in that light.
- The Angels are still trying to figure out if there's a fit with the Diamondbacks as a trading partner, tweets Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times. A report earlier today linked the D-Backs to Mark Trumbo.
- Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets that the Rangers are considering a $20MM bid for Masahiro Tanaka (assuming he gets posted) but are wary of other teams trying to drive up the price on the contract.
3:01pm: Peter Gammons noted on the MLB Network's broadcast that the Mariners have been in on Colon from the beginning and mentioned the Blue Jays as a possibility as well.
2:35pm: Colon's market is heating up, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports hears (on Twitter). Heyman lists the Orioles and Mets as possibilities, noting that if Colon signs a one-year deal it could be north of $10MM.
1:18pm: The Mets and Adam Katz of the Wasserman Media Group -- Bartolo Colon's agent -- had a meeting today, according to Sweeny Murti of WFAN (Twitter link). Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets that the Mets aren't considered to be serious suitors for Colon, as they feel him to be too expensive.
Colon, 40, posted a sterling 2.65 ERA with 5.5 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 with the A's in 2013 but doesn't figure to return to Oakland now that the A's have inked Scott Kazmir to a two-year pact. Katz is also the agent for Nelson Cruz, though the Amazins don't appear to be a good fit for Cruz after bringing in Chris Young and Curtis Granderson in recent weeks.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and his staff have narrowed their list of possible selections for the first pick in this year's Rule 5 Draft to roughly 10 players, writes Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. One possibility on their list is Pirates right-hander Zack Thornton. The 25-year-old pitched to a 2.63 ERA with 10.8 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 across three levels in 2013, topping out at Triple-A. Here's more out of the AL West in the midst of the calm before the storm that is the Winter Meetings...
- Two general managers told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that they wouldn't part with Taijuan Walker in a package to land David Price (Twitter link). Last week, it was reported that the Mariners could push for Price but that Walker would need to be included in any trade.
- The Mariners have received a lot of interest in Dustin Ackley, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. As Heyman notes, Ackley had a solid finish to his 2013 season, batting .290/.360/.412 over his final 65 contests.
- Heyman also tweets that the Mariners' targets include David Price, Nelson Cruz, Joaquin Benoit and Corey Hart. Hart was drafted by General Manager Jack Zduriencik when Zduriencik was with the Brewers.
- The record for the highest payout through the arbitration process is $10MM, but one person familiar with the process tells Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times that Angels outfielder Mike Trout could get $15MM in his first go 'round through arbitration, $20MM in his second year, and $25MM in his third trip through the process. Even for a star of Trout's caliber, those numbers seem lofty.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
It has been a busy week in the Big Apple with the Yankees losing Robinson Cano to the Mariners and coming to terms with Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Hiroki Kuroda. The Mets meanwhile were able to sign Curtis Granderson away from the Pinstripes. Here's the latest on the New York teams:
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters, including Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News, he's not done making moves. "I've got work to do," Cashman said. "I need a starter, bullpen, second base. We’ve still got work." Cashman also addressed a report Cano had reservations about playing for manager Joe Girardi. "I'm not aware of that. You'd have to ask Robbie, I guess. It's never been an issue that I'm aware of."
- The Mets are one of seven or eight teams who have inquired about Johan Santana, sources tell The Star-Ledger's Jorge Castillo. Michael Baron of Metsblog.com doubts any team will offer Santana more than a minor league deal because of his shoulder issues. The Mets opted for a $5.5MM buyout of Santana's $25MM club option in November making the 34-year-old left-hander a free agent.
- The Yankees have checked on free agent right-hander Mike Pelfrey, tweets CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman.
- The Yankees are interested in a reunion with Raul Ibanez but he isn't a top priority for them, tweets the New York Post's Joel Sherman. Ibanez, despite being 41, is being courted by teams in both leagues including the Rockies, Braves, Mariners, and Rangers, Sherman tweets.
- The focus of both the Yankees and Mets will be on the trade market rather than free agents during the Winter Meetings, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
- Martino adds, in a separate tweet, the Mets were never in on Scott Feldman and don't seem to be in play for mid-rotation help.
- CC Sabathia was surprised by Cano's decision because he did not expect the Yankees to allow Cano to leave, and he did not expect Cano to actually go, reports Andy McCullough of The Star-Ledger. "Just a player like that, putting on the pinstripes, and being able to play your whole career in New York means something – to me, obviously," Sabathia said. "It didn't mean that much to him. It's a difficult choice being a free agent. And he made a tough choice. I know he's happy with his decision, and his family's happy. So that's good."
Huge long-term deals frequently turn out badly, and yet teams continue to offer them, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. "I thought after [Albert] Pujols [10 years for $240 million] went so wrong, so quickly, turned into such instant garbage, such a horror show, that the industry had finally learned," an NL executive tells Sherman. "I really did think it was the tipping point." That didn't stop the Mariners from giving Robinson Cano ten years and $240MM, however. Here are more notes from the West divisions.
- The Astros have already acquired Dexter Fowler, Scott Feldman and Chad Qualls this offseason, but that doesn't mean they won't be busy at the Winter Meetings, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes. They'd like to add another reliever, and they also have the first pick in the Rule 5 Draft, which takes place Thursday.
- Many Padres fans were disappointed when the team shipped Luke Gregerson to the A's for Seth Smith, but GM Josh Byrnes saw acquiring a left-handed bat as essential, U-T San Diego's Bill Center writes.
- The Padres are looking to acquire left-handed relief and could trade a young starter such as Burch Smith, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets, adding that the Twins haven't been in contact yet.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says the team is open to trading one of its outfielders, provided "it makes sense and we like what we get back," Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. Colletti also says he's made "a few offers" to Juan Uribe, who's known to be asking for a three-year contract.
Aaron Steen contributed to this post.
The Seattle Times' Geoff Baker is out with a new article that calls into question the leadership of the Mariners' front office just days after reports that the team inked Robinson Cano to a 10-year, $240MM contract. In the piece, former Manager Eric Wedge and former Special Assistant Tony Blengino allege meddling by ownership, bullying by GM Jack Zduriencik and a unwillingness to support young players.
The article gives a withering depiction of Zduriencik, who Blengino says "never has understood one iota about statistical analysis." It's concerning criticism for the GM, who was hired in 2008 with a reputation for being able to incorporate both scouting- and statistics-based analysis. According to the article, most of the job application Zduriencik submitted to the Mariners in 2008 was actually written by Blengino, who worked with Zduriencik for the Brewers. "Jack portrayed himself as a scouting/stats hybrid because that’s what he needed to get the job," Blengino commented.
In an episode that's perhaps representative of the criticisms in the article, Blengino recounts a presentation he gave to baseball operations officials in 2012 on how the Mariners could make use of computerized hitting data. Sitting in on the presentation, Zduriencik "nitpicked about font sizes and column widths," according to Blengino. "He did what he always does and made fun of something he couldn’t understand."
Meanwhile, Wedge details a troubled relationship with President Chuck Armstrong and CEO Howard Lincoln, saying the executives frequently criticized the club's young players to him in meetings. Wedge described "a ferocious, venom-filled tirade" after the 2012 season about the club's coaches and players in which Armstrong said the club "sickened" him, was "disgusting" and "disturbing."
Given the chance to respond to the charges, Armstrong declined. Lincoln says comments by Wedge "mischaracterized much of what occurred over the past three baseball seasons," while Zduriencik refused to discuss specifics. "I don’t believe the airing of 'dirty laundry' should take place in the public arena," the GM said. Baker says he spoke with more than two dozen people for the article who questioned the direction of the club.
While the Yankees have already netted several of the offseason's top players, inking Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Hiroki Kuroda for a combined $299MM, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal notes that the Bombers will again field a roster with age and injury concerns. Beltran, for example, will be paid $45MM for his age 37-39 seasons despite missing significant time in the past with knee problems. "They will just repeat the cycle,” one rival executive speaking with Rosenthal commented. “No young players ready, need to win now, blow everyone out of the water (financially) and hope in three years they have young talent.” Let's take a look at the rest of Rosenthal's excellent column:
- Though the Red Sox have responded to the Yankees' spending spree with smaller deals for players such as Edward Mujica and Mike Napoli, Rosenthal writes that Boston holds a major advantage over the Yanks in scouting and player development, as the Ellsbury signing shows. While the Sox are unlikely to target Shin-Soo Choo, GM Ben Cherington may also have a surprise in the works, as Boston has considered trading for Matt Kemp and could also deal one of its starters.
- Choo may receive a deal that's nearly as large as Ellsbury’s $153MM pact, some executives believe. The Rangers, Mariners, Tigers and Reds appear to be likely landing spots, though some officials tell Rosenthal that the Giants and Astros could also get involved.
- Clubs that fail to land Choo will shift their attention to Nelson Cruz, who could also draw interest from the Orioles and Royals.
- The Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Rangers and Mariners appear to be best-positioned among clubs looking to acquire David Price from the Rays. The Mariners in particular are expected to try and surround new acquisition Robinson Cano with impact talent in the early phase of his 10-year deal, when he'll be the most productive. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are indicating they're shifting their focus to player development, and are unlikely to offer up elite prospects like Corey Seager. While the Cardinals have the prospects to get Price, they've yet to indicate major interest in doing so.
- To trade Kemp now would be selling low on the outfielder, who missed significant time in 2013 with injuries. However, if the Dodgers are willing to absorb some salary, Kemp will look attractive in comparison with 2015's weak class of free agent outfielders.
- Some baseball sources tell Rosenthal that they think Rakuten Golden Eagles President Yozo Tachibana might follow through on a threat to not post Masahiro Tanaka. Tachibana is considered "something of a maverick" by MLB execs, and Tanaka's value is set to plummet for Rakuten under a posting system in which the maximum fee is $20MM, Rosenthal says.