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Seth Smith Rumors
Ed Wade is heading back to the NL East after four years in Houston. Here are more links from the division, starting with Wade’s longtime team…
- Mark DeRosa says he's interested in playing for the Nationals, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson (Twitter links). However, other teams are interested and DeRosa is not close to making a decision.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says he's comfortable heading into Spring Training with the team he has, according to Paul Hagen of MLB.com. The Phillies have already made major free agent signings, added complementary players such as Laynce Nix, Jim Thome and Dontrelle Willis and signed players to minor league deals, as our Free Agent Tracker shows.
- Those who know Cole Hamels doubt he would give the Phillies much of a discount on a potential extension, according to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. The 27-year-old John Boggs & Associates client posted a 2.79 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 and a 52.3% ground ball rate in 215 innings this past season. He's set to hit free agency after the 2012 season (MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a $14MM salary for Hamels in his final season of arbitration eligibility).
- Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com shows that the Mets already have a projected payroll in the $90MM range. GM Sandy Alderson has suggested the team's payroll could be less than $100MM, so the Mets may not have much offseason shopping remaining.
- The Mets are interested in catcher Luis Martinez, who was designated for assignment by the Padres on Sunday, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post (on Twitter). The 26-year-old hit .203/.309/.305 in 68 plate appearances with the Padres this past season.
- The Braves and Rockies have continued discussing a possible deal that would send Seth Smith to Atlanta for Martin Prado, according to MLB.com's Thomas Harding. The Braves appear to be seeing what they can get for Jair Jurrjens first, however. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports examined possible suitors for Smith earlier today, including the Braves despite their preference for a right-handed hitter.
The Mets aren't actively shopping Jonathon Niese, and despite an earlier report that they were interested in trading him for a package around Rockies outfielder Seth Smith, they have "zero interest" in such a deal according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (in these four tweets).
New York would have to be "knocked out" to trade Niese, who is not yet arbitration eligible and owns 286 strikeouts and 106 walks in 331 innings over the past two seasons. His ERA is a pedestrian 4.30 in that time, though his 49.5% groundball rate and advanced metrics like FIP (3.75) and SIERA (3.67) tell a different story.
At the Winter Meetings, we heard that the Mets would be willing to move any player other than David Wright, and several teams showed interest in the 25-year-old Niese, viewing him as a potentially cheaper alternative to Gio Gonzalez. Reports since then say that there have been "no significant talks," however, and Crasnick's strong words suggest that Niese won't be easy to acquire at all.
- Jonathon Niese "is believed to be available in a package built around" Rockies outfielder Seth Smith, reports Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports. Smith's name has been whispered in the trade rumors all winter and he could be even more expendable now that Colorado has agreed to terms with Michael Cuddyer. The Mets hadn't had any "significant" talks about Niese, though the Rockies were known to be one of the several teams interested in the young southpaw.
- Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd "is having a very good winter. If he can add another strong arm or two, he has a chance at a great winter," writes Scott Miller for CBSSports.com. Miller also examines how Cuddyer's clubhouse presence was an important factor in the Rockies' decision to sign him.
- The Padres have the payroll space to trade for an available slugger like Carlos Quentin, writes Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. With free agent hitters wary of coming to Petco Park, the trade market is San Diego's best avenue for finding a bat, Rosenthal/Morosi note. They also mention Quentin's past with Padres GM Josh Byrnes in Arizona, though it was Byrnes who dealt Quentin to the White Sox in 2007 when Byrnes was the Diamondbacks' general manager.
- There is no risk of Frank McCourt trying to keep ownership the Dodgers, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Doing so "would put hundreds of millions of dollars at risk to try a 'hail Mary' strategy," Shaikin writes.
- Padres owner Jeff Moorad should speed up his purchase of the team from John Moores, opines Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
- The Giants seem to have moved on from Ross, as Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (Twitter link) reports the club didn't make any offer to try and re-sign the 2010 NLCS MVP. Baggarly says five other teams are in the mix for Ross' services and at least one suitor figures to offer a two-year deal.
- Baggarly also tweets "the Ross camp has had eyes on Colorado for a long time." ESPN's Jayson Stark (Twitter link) reports the Rockies could pursue Ross or Michael Cuddyer with the money the team saved from the Huston Street trade.
- The Rockies have an interest in Ross, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post, but as a "complementary player" and not on a three-year contract. Renck notes the Rockies are still discussing an Edinson Volquez trade with the Reds, with Cincinnati showing some interest in Seth Smith. If Smith is dealt, it could conceivably open room for the Rockies to acquire both Cuddyer and Ross, with Ross playing the outfield on the days Cuddyer starts at second or third.
- Reds general manager Walt Jocketty tells MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that Ross' agent said his client would be interested in returning to Cincinnati. Ross was briefly a Red in 2006, appearing in two games with the club. Jocketty said the two sides "kicked it around,” though the team has "some other things to do first," presumably finding a top-tier pitcher. Perhaps related to the Reds' pitching search, Jocketty said he has spoken "several times" with the Rays but he doesn't think the two sides are close on a trade.
Seth Smith has drawn trade interest from multiple teams recently, according to Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd. As Thomas Harding of MLB.com writes, Colorado's search for pitching might result in the club dealing the outfielder.
"Seth is very, very well-liked within the game," O'Dowd said. "I'm not sure we're going to do anything, but we've had a lot of calls on Seth."
The Braves and Mariners had previously been linked to Smith, and Harding adds the Twins to the list of clubs who have expressed interest in the 29-year-old. Since the Rockies have "long had interest" in Kevin Slowey, who the Twins may be shopping, Harding suggests the two teams are a potential match.
The Rockies are also fielding offers for Ian Stewart, with the Cubs and Angels the most active suitors, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Huston Street is a trade candidate as well, and Morosi tweets that the Orioles are still talking to the Rockies about acquiring him, while Troy Renck of the Denver Post hears that talks have cooled (Twitter link).
"We've got a lot of things in play," said O'Dowd. "We've stuck a lot of nets in the water. You really don't have any idea if anything's going to come through for you.
It's been a busy first day of the Winter Meetings at MLBTR, so let's use this opportunity to catch up on a few Monday items that may have slipped through the cracks…
- Todd Coffey is drawing interest from the Mets and Brewers, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Brew Crew haven't expressed any interest in bringing back another righty, LaTroy Hawkins, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (on Twitter).
- The Nationals may revisit their search for a center fielder after the non-tender deadline, so they can see if any bargain options hit the market, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- B.J. Upton is one center fielder who may be on the trade market, but Morosi hears interest in the Rays' speedster has been "mild" so far (Twitter link).
- GM Walt Jocketty suggested to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that extension talks between the Reds and Brandon Phillips may hinge on the number of years the club feels comfortable offering.
- Orioles infielder Robert Andino is drawing trade interest from teams who could use him as a starting shortstop, tweets MASN's Roch Kubatko.
- GM Dan Duquette said the Orioles have several "irons in the fire" and is optimistic about making at least one move during the Winter Meetings, says Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com.
- There are indications that the Mariners have talked to the Rockies about Seth Smith's availability, says MLB.com's Greg Johns.
- The Rockies are out of the running for Roy Oswalt, reports Troy Renck of The Denver Post. They remain aggressive in their pursuit of a starting pitcher though, and have interest in Kevin Millwood and former Rockie Jeff Francis. The Twins are in on Francis as well.
- Japanese second baseman Kensuke Tanaka will remain in Japan, reports Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports (on Twitter). The Rockies had expressed initial interest in the free agent according to Morosi.
- The Braves want good prospects along with Seth Smith in return for Martin Prado, reports SI.com's Jon Heyman (on Twitter), so the two clubs have some work to do if they're going to make a trade.
The Rockies have been busy this evening. They traded Chris Iannetta to the Angels for Tyler Chatwood and agreed to terms with Ramon Hernandez on a two-year deal. Here are the rest of the day’s notes on the Rockies:
- The Rockies remain hopeful of obtaining Martin Prado from the Braves, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes.
- There’s a decent chance Kevin Millwood re-signs with the Rockies this offseason, according to Renck (on Twitter).
- The Rockies have offered Seth Smith to the Braves, but they don’t have interest in packaging him with Tim Wheeler or Charlie Blackmon.
- The Rockies and Padres haven’t made any progress on a possible deal for Orlando Hudson.
- Rival teams say the Rockies would like a Double-A or Triple-A pitcher for Ian Stewart.
As part of their continuing search for offense, the Mariners have interest in Rockies outfielder Seth Smith according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). It's unclear if there are any talks ongoing.
Smith, 29, is a .275/.348/.485 career hitter in parts of five seasons in Colorado. He's hit at least 15 homers in each of the last three seasons, though the advanced metrics rate his defense in the corner outfield spots as below average. The Braves are fond of him as well.
The latest from Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports…
- The Dodgers' payroll will be well under $100MM in 2012, sources tell the FOX writers. If James Loney and Hiroki Kuroda return, there will be little left to spend. On the plus side, the Dodgers were able to reduce Matt Kemp's '12 salary to slightly more than $10MM as part of his new multiyear deal, in a year where as much as $16MM seemed possible through arbitration. Rosenthal and Morosi say the Dodgers would want to buy out at least two free agent years in a long-term deal for Clayton Kershaw, who may take home the NL Cy Young award tomorrow. With Kershaw under team control for three more years, the Dodgers don't have the same urgency to lock him up as they did Kemp. In MLBTR's exclusive arbitration salary projections, Kershaw was pegged at $8.4MM, easily a first-time record for a pitcher.
- The Astros "probably will acquire a shortstop and add low-cost relief pitching" this offseason, write Rosenthal and Morosi. GM Ed Wade told the FOX writers he plans to stick with Mark Melancon at closer. The GM explained his team's corner outfield situation: "From the standpoint of corner outfield, there are going to be guys out there, looking for opportunities. We’re pretty much the land of opportunity right now."
- Chipper Jones still enjoys playing, says Braves GM Frank Wren. The 39-year-old third baseman is signed through 2012 with a '13 vesting option. Rosenthal and Morosi say Martin Prado is available in the right deal, but the Braves value his versatility, including his ability to back up Jones.
- Yoenis Cespesdes could petition baseball to declare him a free agent fairly quickly, after he establishes temporary residence in the Dominican Republic. The residency part is expected to happen within 10 to 14 days.
- The Blue Jays have expressed interest in trading for Rockies reliever Huston Street. Street has one year and $8MM remaining on his contract. Rosenthal and Morosi say the Rockies remain interested in a deal for Prado, which would require Seth Smith and another piece.