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Texas Rangers Rumors
The Astros are one of roughly 12 teams who have checked in with free agent righty Jason Hammel, the Houston Chronicle’s Evan Drellich reports. While Hammel makes sense for a lot of teams as a less-expensive option behind some of the pricier names on the pitching market, he seems like a particularly solid fit for an Astros team that is looking to upgrade its rotation without expending a lot of payroll. MLBTR’s Jeff Todd, in his Free Agent Profile of Hammel, predicted the right-hander would receive a three-year, $30MM deal this winter — exactly what Houston spent to sign Scott Feldman last offseason.
Here’s some more from around the AL West…
- Also from Drellich, Jose Veras‘ Barry Praver says his client is interested in returning to the Astros next season.
- The Athletics have called about free agent shortstops Asdrubal Cabrera and Stephen Drew, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports. Shortstop is an area of need for Oakland this winter with incumbent Jed Lowrie also a free agent.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels told reports (including Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News) that the team could consider trading from its shortstop depth. “Its an area of strength for us. We’ve talked about the possibility for a while. We just have to decide if now is the time to make a move there,” Daniels said. Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar are the two biggest names yet a deal involving either player wouldn’t be likely until Spring Training, when Profar can show that he’s healthy after shoulder injuries sidelined him for all of the 2014 season. Earlier today, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the Yankees were “intrigued” by Andrus. Prospects Luis Sardinas and Hanser Alberto could also be trade chips, either in small deals or as parts of larger trade packages.
- Two sources tell Evan Grant that Colby Lewis will likely re-sign with the Rangers. Daniels said that if he “had to guess, I think it gets done,” though noted that Lewis has “never been healthy and a true free agent before. This is the first real chance he’s had to find out his true value.”
- Kevin Jepsen could be a trade candidate if the Angels wanted to deal from their right-handed relief surplus, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez opines. Jepsen has two more years of control left as a Super Two player, and his rising price tag could make him expendable for the Halos, Gonzalez speculates.
At least ten teams have reached out to express interest in Torii Hunter, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today, and the free agent’s most aggressive suitors are in the very familiar AL Central. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals, Twins, Tigers, Cubs, Giants, Rangers and Mariners have all shown some early interest in Hunter (Twitter links). Hunter’s preference is to remain in Detroit, he adds, but his fate may be tied to that of Victor Martinez, as the Tigers likely can’t re-sign both.
Though Hunter turns 40 next July, he still enjoyed a productive season at the plate in a fairly pitcher-friendly home environment, hitting .286/.319/.446 with 17 homers in 586 plate appearances. His defensive game, however, appears to have slipped as Defensive Runs Saved pegged him at -18 runs and Ultimate Zone Rating agreed (-18.3).
Given his age, I’d think Hunter’s priority would be signing with a team he expects to contend in 2015 rather than maxing out his contract or perhaps making a sentimental return to his former Minneapolis stomping grounds.
The Red Sox are one of the 20 teams on Cole Hamels‘ no-trade list, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). As Rosenthal notes, Hamels wouldn’t necessarily block a trade to Boston, but he may want a team to pick up his 2019 vesting option ($20MM) in order to waive the clause. That would take Hamels’ total guarantee from four years and $90MM to five years and $110MM, likely making him a bit less attractive as a trade target. Boston has been an oft-rumored potential trade partner should the Phillies decide to move their ace.
More from baseball’s Eastern divisions…
- Yasmany Tomas isn’t close to a deal of any sort, but Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets that Tomas’ agent, Jay Alou, had a one-on-one meeting with Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. at today’s GM Meetings in Phoenix.
- The Mets saw Tomas, but their scouts didn’t love him and they’re not likely to go near the $100MM range to sign him, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. He does note that the Mets are looking at outfielders on the trade market and willing to listen on Daniel Murphy again. However, the Mets have been underwhelmed by past offers for Murphy and may just hang onto him, as they’re comfortable giving Dilson Herrera more time to develop in the minors.
- Sherman also reports that the Yankees are “intrigued” by Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus. The Yankees are trying to get younger and are hopeful of acquiring youthful players that may not have had their best season yet, and Andrus could fit that bill. However, they’re also wary of Andrus’ huge $120MM contract extension, which doesn’t even kick in until next season.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos tells Sportsnet’s Jeff Blair that he won’t allow other teams to dictate his offseason. What he means by that, Blair explains, is that the Jays won’t wait to see where a certain player signs before pursuing another. Blair recalls the 2006 Winter Meetings, when Anthopoulos was an assistant GM to J.P. Ricciardi. Toronto was hamstrung at the Winter Meetings waiting to hear back from free agents Ted Lilly and Gil Meche, both of whom signed elsewhere in the end. According to Blair, there was some stark internal criticism about how the other team’s plans were held up by other clubs. Toronto’s priority is re-signing Melky Cabrera, Blair writes, but the Blue Jays are aware that his QO and past ties to PEDs could lead to a slow-developing market.
Top Rangers prospect Joey Gallo has left the Legacy Agency for Wasserman Media Group, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes tweets. Wasserman currently represents big-name clients like Yasiel Puig, Giancarlo Stanton, Hanley Ramirez, Chase Utley and Javier Baez. Still, Gallo’s move is a big one for his new agency — MLB.com currently ranks the third baseman the No. 6 prospect in baseball.
Gallo has raced through the minors since being drafted in the first round in 2012, hitting 40 homers between Class A+ Myrtle Beach and Double-A Frisco as a 20-year-old in 2014, with an overall line of .271/.394/.615. He does have weaknesses — those 40 home runs came with 179 strikeouts, suggesting that it might be difficult for him to harness his power in the Majors. Still, his raw power is hard to top.
The Dodgers‘ front office shakeup isn’t over yet. As Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles reported first, the Dodgers announced that they have hired Gabe Kapler as their farm director and Padres scouting director Billy Gasparino as their new director of amateur scouting (All Twitter links). Additionally, the team will hire Red Sox special assignment scout Galen Carr, per Saxon, though his role in the Dodgers’ front office is yet unreported. The Dodgers, of course, have already poached Andrew Friedman from the Rays (president of baseball ops) and Farhan Zaidi from the A’s (GM) in addition to hiring former Padres/D’Backs GM Josh Byrnes as their new senior VP of baseball ops. The new-look group is made up of some of the most respected executives from around the game.
Here’s more from the game’s Western divisions…
- On a conference call with Padres season-ticket holders last night, general manager A.J. Preller spoke candidly about the team’s interest in Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas (Twitter link): “We’ve had the chance to see Yasmany Tomas and we’re in the process of determining his value for the Padres. We’re in the game.” San Diego has been said to be one of the front-runners for Tomas, and he’d certainly provide the team with some much-needed offense if he lives up to the hype surrounding him.
- The Rangers will be on the lookout for a backup catcher to pair with Robinson Chirinos this offseason, writes MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. Sullivan looks at the crop of free agents and notes that A.J. Pierzynski, Gerald Laird and J.P. Arencibia have all played with the Rangers in the past, but he wonders if the team will spend a bit more money on a name like Nick Hundley rather than bringing in familiar faces.
- The Angels announced today that they have promoted Mike LaCassa to assistant director of player development and promoted Jonathan Strangio to manager of Major League Operations (Twitter link).
The Rockies‘ decision to make a qualifying offer to outfielder Michael Cuddyer makes more sense in light of reports that the club could be open to making some larger moves, possibly involving stars Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez, writes Dave Cameron of Fangraphs. For his money, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding believes the likeliest scenario involves a trade of first baseman Justin Morneau, whose remaining contract is attractive given his production last year. I discussed this very issue last night with Denver Post writer Nick Groke for today’s podcast, which will be made available shortly.
Here’s more from out west:
- The Padres gave the Dodgers permission yesterday to interview scouting director Billy Gasparino, Corey Brock of MLB.com tweets. It may be more of a done deal, in fact, according to a report from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
- Turning to the major league side of things, the Dodgers face yet another offseason with questions about an outfield logjam, as Mike Petriello of Fangraphs writes. With Joc Pederson now clearly having proven himself at Triple-A, Petriello takes a look at the available options. The likeliest, in his opinion, is a trade involving Carl Crawford.
- The Rangers expect to be more active on the trade market than in free agency, as Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com reports. “I think just by nature free agents will cost more money,” said GM Jon Daniels. “I think we have some areas of depth and have a chance to get some players with a little bit more cost control.” Daniels went on to discuss some general possibilities. “I feel pretty good about our [minor] league system just based on the players we’ve been asked about, and other teams feel about it the same way,” he explained. “It’s a pretty unique market, there’s quite a few pitchers who might be on the market, and that’s probably the strength of the marketplace in free agent and trade standpoints. I don’t know how quick it will be, but I think we’ll be able to address our needs.”
As expected, the Marlins have begun extension talks with star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports on Twitter. President of baseball operations Michael Hill tells Spencer that the team has “reached out” to Stanton’s representatives and that “negotiations are ongoing.”
Here’s more from the NL East:
- At present, the Mets are more inclined to fill their needs in the corner outfield via trade than through a free agent signing, reports Marc Carig of Newsday. New York is still hesitant to give up any of its best young talent in a swap. But veterans like Michael Morse, Alex Rios, and Torii Hunter all seem more like fallback options that the team would pursue if value can be had and nothing better has materialized. The Mets are said to prefer to add a right-handed bat.
- One other hypothetical possibility, Nick Markakis, is not presently engaged with the team in any way, according to Matt Ehalt of The Record (Twitter link).
- As they weigh their options at second, the Nationals are not unmindful of the Cuban market that has begun to materialize in recent weeks, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports. The primary possible targets, per Wagner, are 26-year-old Jose Fernandez and high-upside youngster Yoan Moncada. The 20-year-old Moncada will draw immense interest, with Ben Badler of Baseball America saying he is talented enough that he would be the odds-on favorite to go first overall in this year’s amateur draft (were he eligible).
- The Phillies are still the favorite to land Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, with A.J. Burnett‘s decision to decline his option possibly burnishing Philly’s chances. That does not mean they are without competition, of course. Other clubs that have seen (or will soon see) Tomas since his showcase include the Rangers, D’backs, Giants, Dodgers, Padres, Red Sox, and Mariners.
- Also per Heyman, the Phillies could clear yet more payroll space and add young talent through a deal for pitcher Cole Hamels, with the Cubs still showing interest in the lefty.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: A.J. Burnett | Alex Rios | Boston Red Sox | Chicago Cubs | Cole Hamels | Giancarlo Stanton | Jose Fernandez 2B | Los Angeles Dodgers | Miami Marlins | Michael Morse | New York Mets | Philadelphia Phillies | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Seattle Mariners | Texas Rangers | Torii Hunter | Washington Nationals | Yasmany Tomas | Yoan Moncada
The Dodgers made more headlines yesterday when it was reported that A’s assistant GM Farhan Zaidi would become their new GM to work under president of baseball ops Andrew Friedman, and that former Padres GM Josh Byrnes would join the front office as well. That may be the biggest front office news that’s come out recently, but it’s not the only news. Here’s are some more notes on front offices and coaching staffs, all of which happen to pertain to baseball’s Western divisions…
- The Rockies announced yesterday their entire 2014 coaching staff as well as some front office promotions (Twitter links). Former Rox reliever Darren Holmes will assume the role of bullpen coach, while Steve Foster was named pitching coach. Foster has worked as a minor league pitching coach and bullpen coach with the Marlins and also worked with the Royals bullpen from 2009-11.
- In the Rockies‘ front office, five executives were promoted. Rolando Fernandez is now the VP of international scouting and development, Zachary Rosenthal and Jonathan Weil were promoted to assistant GM, Zachary Wilson will assume the role of senior director of player development, and Danny Montgomery was named a special assistant to new GM Jeff Bridich.
- The Astros hired Alan Zinter as their new assistant hitting coach, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle tweeted yesterday. The 46-year-old Zinter had a 19-year minor league career and also saw time in Japan back in ’99. He was twice called up for a taste of big league action, first in 2002 with Houston and again in 2004 with the D’Backs.
- After missing out on the chance to become the Rangers‘ permanent manager, Tim Bogar has taken a role with the division-rival Angels as a special assistant, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Bogar took over as the interim manager in Texas following Ron Washington’s abrupt resignation, but the Rangers ultimately hired former Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister as their new skipper.
- The Rangers today officially announced the hiring of Michael Young as a special assistant to GM Jon Daniels. The move was first reported back in October though not made official until today. Young will assist GM Jon Daniels in player evaluation and development at the Major League and Minor League level in addition to going on scouting trips and special assignments.
- The Brewers officially announced on Monday that they had hired Ray Montgomery away from the D’Backs as their new vice president of amateur scouting and a special assistant to GM Doug Melvin, and Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic looks at what the loss means for the Diamondbacks. Montgomery interviewed for the team’s GM job before Dave Stewart was hired, and he was said to be in line for a promotion. Stewart tells Piecoro that the team was working to expand Montgomery’s responsibilities but hadn’t figured out exactly how his role would grow prior to his departure. Stewart and VP of baseball operations De Jon Watson will meet this week to discuss replacement candidates, and Piecoro lists a few internal candidates.
Yesterday afternoon, the Rangers announced their coaching staff under new manager Jeff Banister, and it’s fairly similar to their old one. Dave Magadan, who interviewed for the Yankees’ hitting coach position already this fall, will return to the Rangers as their hitting coach. Mike Maddux, who appeared to be a managerial candidate, will return as pitching coach. Steve Buechele, who got good reviews as the manager at Triple-A Round Rock and who interviewed for both the Rangers and Astros managerial jobs, will serve as the Rangers’ big-league bench coach, replacing Tim Bogar. Hector Ortiz will serve as the first base coach, with Andy Hawkins as the bullpen coach. Here are more notes from around the West divisions.
- The Dodgers are considering hiring FOX Sports analyst Gabe Kapler in a front office role, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets. Kapler played under new Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman for two seasons in Tampa Bay, and Crasnick notes that Friedman “is a Kapler fan.”
- Giants GM Brian Sabean isn’t looking for attention, but he’s quietly gotten strong results in his 18 years on the job, MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby writes. During Sabean’s tenure, the Giants have the third-best record in the National League, behind the Braves and Cardinals. They have also, of course, won three World Series in that time.
Coming off another World Series win with the Giants, free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval is seeking a nine-figure contract, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman writes. Sandoval would, however, like to remain in San Francisco. “He loves the city. He loves the team. He loves the fans,” says agent Gustavo Vazquez. “And he wants to stay.” Sandoval himself echoes those sentiments earlier today, and the Giants want him to return as well. The Red Sox are also expected to be among the teams bidding for Sandoval. Here’s more from the West divisions.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels says starting pitcher Colby Lewis will test the free agent market, FOX Sports Southwest’s Anthony Andro tweets. The Rangers had previously indicated they were interested in re-signing Lewis, even though he posted a 5.18 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 170 1/3 innings in 2014 after missing the previous season due to elbow and hip injuries.
- The Dodgers ought to consider keeping Andre Ethier, Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times writes. Joc Pederson‘s performance in a small sample down the stretch might indicate he’s not ready to start, Dilbeck argues, and Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp might not be able to stay healthy. So the Dodgers might as well keep Ethier, particularly if the alternative is eating tens of millions of dollars in salary and not getting much back in return.
- The Angels are likely to have a quiet offseason, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register writes. They don’t have many free agents departing and not many clear needs, and since they want to stay under the luxury tax threshold, they don’t have much money to spend anyway. They do want bullpen and rotation depth, and a report earlier today indicated one way they might try to get it is by trading Howie Kendrick or David Freese.