St. Louis Cardinals Rumors
The latest out of the AL West..
- The Rangers are high on catcher Brian McCann, but a few GM's are thinking Texas still has interest in Jacoby Ellsbury, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
- The Rangers have put their pursuit of free agent pitchers Masahiro Tanaka and Matt Garza (as well as top trade target David Price) to the side as they seek out a big bat, writes Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram.
- In an appearance on 95.7 The Game, A's manager Bob Melvin threw cold water on the idea that Jed Lowrie could be traded to the Cardinals, tweets Jane Lee of MLB.com. "Maybe [the Cardinals] made a call and inquired about him ... we’re not looking to move Jed Lowrie."
- Athletics GM Billy Beane spoke with Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com about the GM Meetings and his club's needs. Beane says he's on the lookout for backend bullpen help, a right-handed hitting outfielder to replace Chris Young, and added that there is mutual interest in a return between the A's and Bartolo Colon.
- Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com examines Carlos Beltran as a possible target for the Rangers.
Here's a look at the latest from Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, with all links going to Twitter..
- The Yankees are talking to the Cardinals about a deal for third baseman David Freese, a source tells Feinsand (via Twitter). The Cardinals could theoretically part with Freese since they can move Matt Carpenter to third base and use Kolten Wong at second. Freese, 30, would give the Yankees a solid plan B in the event that Alex Rodriguez's suspension is upheld. Even if the suspension isn't upheld, A-Rod will probably have to play a good amount of DH. Freese hit just .262/.340/.381 with nine homers last season but his career slash line of .286/.356/.427 is much stronger.
- A source says the says Mariners have "no interest" in Jacoby Ellsbury but the Cubs appear to be stealthily waiting in the wings (link). The Cubs are probably targeting 2015 to make a move towards contending but its possible that they'll look to make a splash this winter in advance of that.
- According to Rangers source, the club is working to schedule Carlos Beltran for a visit to Dallas (link). Two other teams are believed to be working on the same thing. Feinsand lists the Yankees, Red Sox, Royals, Indians, and Mariners as the other clubs showing serious interest and notes that they're all AL clubs (link).
The Orioles and Cardinals had trade talks revolving around Shelby Miller and J.J. Hardy, but the Cardinals told Baltimore there's no deal to be made, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Some have speculated that the Cards could consider trading Miller this winter despite his brilliant rookie season. However, there was no indication that St. Louis is thinking that way in this exchange.
Hardy is coming off of a season in which he hit .263/.306/.433 while belting 25 home runs. Of course, the Cardinals are aggressively pursuing an upgrade at the shortstop position, but this deal wasn't up their alley.
While the Cardinals believe in keeping an open mind to all opportunities, many at the GM Meetings are wondering why they would even think about trading the right-hander, Heyman writes. The Cards have recieved many inquiries about their wealth of young pitchers over the last couple of days.
A quick look at the latest from the AL and NL West..
- The Mariners have interest in free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz, sources tell Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). The M's have been expected to be in the hunt for right-handed hitting this winter and one possible target, Marlon Byrd, came off the board earlier today.
The Rockies continue to tell teams that stars Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, and Michael Cuddyer are unavailable, but they did talk to a couple teams about center fielder Dexter Fowler, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Cardinals are said to have been one of the teams to call on Fowler, but people close to the situation say there wasn't an apparent match.
- A's pitcher Brett Anderson could hit the trade block and the odds will only increase if Bartolo Colon is retained, writes Heyman. The A's also have starters Sonny Gray. Jarrod Parker, A.J. Griffin, Dan Straily, and Tommy Milone. in the fold.
The Cardinals are shopping for an upgrade at shortstop and Peter Gammons of Gammons Daily hears that Jed Lowrie of the Athletics is now on their list. The A's could theoretically move Lowrie to fill a need elsewhere and promote Addison Russell to the majors this season.
Meanwhile, despite the speculation that the Athletics would move Lowrie, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter) hears that it won't happen. The plan all along has been for him to be a two-year bridge to Russell and they are now entering year two.
Lowrie, 29, hit .290/.344/.446 in 662 plate appearances last season for the A's. The veteran came to Oakland in a five-player deal with the Astros in February 2013 .
We heard earlier today that the Brewers explored a trade for Mets first baseman Ike Davis but talks went nowhere, and that the Brew Crew aren't going to deal Norichika Aoki. Let's check in elsewhere around the NL Central...
- The Pirates have been looking at "high upside" starting pitchers in their initial round of free agent calls, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports (Twitter link).
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington said that his team is open to discussing a long-term deal with second baseman Neil Walker, FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi reports (Twitter link).
- Also from Morosi (Twitter links), the Pirates will probably add a starter from outside the organization if A.J. Burnett retires or signs elsewhere. Huntington said Burnett hasn't yet given the Pirates any indication if he will retire or pitch in 2014.
- David Freese has seemingly gone from World Series hero to forgotten man in St. Louis. Bernie Miklasz of the St Louis Post-Dispatch looks at the Cardinals' options with their once-star third baseman and where he fits into the club's plans.
- It has been assumed that Carlos Beltran will leave the Cardinals this winter but GM John Mozeliak tells reporters (including MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch) that it isn't quite a done deal. "I still think it's a situation where the door's open but we haven't made any decisions either way. In time, we'll see," Mozeliak said.
- Jed Hoyer isn't surprised by the Jeff Samardzija trade talk, the Cubs general manager tells reporters (including ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers). “Teams know we’ve had discussions with him and we haven’t signed him. That's part of it," Hoyer said. "I think teams will certainly inquire about him. He’s really proved over the last two years he has great stuff and is a tough competitor. I think teams will ask us about him so to that extent there could be rumors." Samardzija is reportedly unlikely to sign an extension and he has been linked to the Nationals and Diamondbacks in recent rumors.
- Also from Hoyer, he says the Cubs will be looking to add veterans to replace Alfonso Soriano and David DeJesus' clubhouse leadership.
- Chicago native Curtis Granderson would be a big addition both on and off the field for Cubs or White Sox, yet as CSN Chicago's Dan Hayes notes, both teams' focus on adding younger talent makes them hesitant to give up the second round draft pick it would take to sign Granderson.
ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick checked in with 21 general managers, assistant GMs, player personnel people, and scouts to get their take on some of the biggest storylines of the winter. Here's a look at some of the highlights..
- Almost everyone sees Robinson Cano staying put with 19 votes for the Yankees, one vote for the Dodgers, and one for the Cubs. Nearly everyone sees Cano getting a seven- or eight-year deal worth $160MM-$230MM and no one expects him to approach the $300MM figure he was asking for from the Bombers earlier this year. It should be noted that the GM that picked the Cubs said that he has no inside info to support that pick.
- Nine execs see Masahiro Tanaka landing with the Dodgers while six chose the Yankees. All but a handful of those surveyed think his payout will exceed the $60MM Yu Darvish got from the Rangers. Tanaka is ranked as the top available pitcher by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes.
- Seventeen of the 21 participants in the survey say David Price will get traded this winter. Where will he land? The Rangers got nine votes and the Dodgers got four nods with one vote each for the Nationals, Cardinals, Angels, and Astros.
- Opinions were somewhat split on whether Jacoby Ellsbury or Shin-Soo fChoo will provide better value over the course of their next deals. Twelve execs said Ellsbury, eight voted for Choo, and one GM declined to vote, saying that neither one will match what they get.
- When asked to pick the best pitcher between Matt Garza, Ervin Santana, and Ubaldo Jimenez, ten execs chose Garza. Most seemed to agree that the lack of quality starting pitching available will lead to all three being overpaid. One American League scout seemed to like Jimenez on some level but was skeptical of him long-term. "Ubaldo has the best chance to give you impact in the short term, but I am not buying him over the course of 3-4 years," the scout said.
- When asked which former Yankees prospect has a better chance of succeeding elsewhere with a change of scenery, Phil Hughes was the overwhelming choice over Joba Chamberlain.
- Crasnick asked the execs which aging pitcher had the most left in the tank between Roy Halladay, Hiroki Kuroda, and Tim Hudson. Kuroda had the backing of 12 people surveyed, Hudson got eight votes, and Halladay had just one exec in his corner. "Maybe the chances of [Halladay] coming back aren't real good if you look at it objectively," a scout said. "But if the guy wants to [keep pitching] and be successful, I wouldn't put it past him."
The Cardinals and Rockies will discuss a potential Troy Tulowitzki trade at this week's GM/owner meetings, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports. The Cardinals have also asked the Rangers about the possibility of trading for Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar, Passan writes.
The Cardinals' troubles at the shortstop position are well-known, as is the depth of their young talent, so potential Tulowitzki or Profar deals have long been the subjects of fan speculation. The Rockies have said they aren't interested in dealing Tulowitzki, but Passan suggests that Rockies ownership may be coming around to the idea of being out from under the $134MM remaining on Tulowitzki's contract, which carries through 2020 (with a club option for 2021).
Passan writes that one potential piece the Rockies might receive in return is first baseman Matt Adams, who so far has been blocked by Allen Craig in St. Louis. Adams hit .284/.335/.503 in part-time duty for the Cardinals this year. The Rockies would also like a pitcher -- the Cardinals will not trade Michael Wacha, but Shelby Miller appears to be a possibility. Adams and Miller would highlight a package of three or four players that the Rockies might receive in return for Tulowitzki.
Tulowitzki's contract stipulates that he receive a $2MM bonus if he is traded. Tulowitzki, 29, hit .312/.391/.540 and produced 5.6 wins above replacement in 2013, making him the best shortstop in baseball. His injury history may be a concern, however, given the length of his contract.
Pirates GM Neal Huntington has had a lot of ups-and-downs over the course of his tenure in Pittsburgh, but his confidence never wavered, writes Karen Price of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “If (Bob Nutting) made a different decision a year ago, I would have walked out the door believing this organization was much better off than when we walked in the door, and believing that they were a few good decisions away from being a playoff-caliber team,” Huntington said. “(I'm) very grateful, very thankful, that we had the opportunity to see the 2013 season to its fruition. My hope is that all it has done is reinforce that commitment and that bond, because we've got a lot of talented people doing a lot of good things.” Here's more out of the AL and NL Central..
- A.J. Burnett may prove to be too pricey for the Pirates, but Tom Singer of MLB.com suggests a creative solution to help facilitate a reunion. The veteran pitcher wants to spend as much time with his family as possible, so Singer wonders if Burnett might be willing to take a page out of Roger Clemens' book and sign with the club in the summer. That would allow the Bucs to only pay him a prorated portion of the eight-figure deal the pitcher likely seeks.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (via Twitter) that he'd like to trade a young starting pitcher for a "young controllable shortstop." The Cards have been heavily rumored to be seeking a shortstop to give them an upgrade over Pete Kozma.
- Jim Margalus of South Side Sox wonders why Paul Konerko's future with the White Sox hasn't been resolved yet. The slugger struggled through injuries in 2013 and Margalus gets the sense that beat writers are more keen on seeing him return to Chicago than fans.
Carlos Beltran is looking for a three- or four-year contract and will thus turn down the Cardinals' one-year, $14.1MM qualifying offer, Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown reports. Rejecting the qualifying offer will likely mean the end of Beltran's tenure in St. Louis as the Cards aren't likely to meet Beltran's demands when they have younger (and cheaper) outfield options like star prospect Oscar Taveras.
Beltran said during the summer that he hoped to play three or four more seasons, so it makes sense that he would look for a contract that would cover the home stretch of his career and capitalize on his strong performance in both the regular season and postseason. Though Beltran turns 37 next April, there is enough demand for his services that he could find more than two years. The Yankees, Red Sox, and Orioles have already been linked to Beltran this offseason and Brown reports that six teams have "varying degrees of interest" in the veteran slugger. Brown figures the Mets, Phillies and Rangers are also possible suitors, plus any other teams who miss out on Jacoby Ellsbury or Shin-Soo Choo.
As MLBTR's Steve Adams noted in his Free Agent Profile of Beltran, players of Beltran's age rarely score contracts of three years or more, and predicted that Beltran would sign a two-year, $30MM deal. Enough big-market teams are connected to Beltran that a larger deal could be possible, though the draft pick compensation attached to Beltran once he turns down the qualifying offer will also turn some clubs off.