Vernon Wells Rumors
The Orioles showed serious interest in Justin Upton before talks with the Diamondbacks sputtered, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported last night. Here are some more of Rosenthal’s notes from around MLB...
- Rosenthal hears from one executive who expects the Padres to make another significant move. However, the Padres like their group of young starting pitchers and aren’t inclined to make a strong play for one of the remaining free agent starters. San Diego could still trade for a pitcher such as Rick Porcello, Luke Hochevar or Aaron Harang.
- Talks about a deal involving Upton and Chase Headley didn’t progress, Rosenthal reports.
- The Orioles continue seeking starting pitching and Joe Saunders remains a target. The Orioles also checked in on Porcello, according to Rosenthal.
- Though the Orioles spoke with Lance Berkman before he signed with the Rangers, they weren’t interested in spending big for the switch-hitting DH.
- Jeff Karstens, Derek Lowe, Aaron Cook and Jair Jurrjens are among the possibilities the Rockies are considering. The Rockies wouldn’t offer all of those pitchers Major League deals, however.
- Rosenthal suggests free agent reliever Rafael Soriano could be a longshot for the Rockies. Colorado would have to surrender its second round draft pick to sign the Scott Boras client.
- The Phillies continue seeking a right-handed hitting outfielder, Rosenthal reports. They’re still considering free agent Scott Hairston and trade candidates Alfonso Soriano and Vernon Wells. It’s possible the Phillies will go with platoons in both corner outfield positions.
"The Los Angeles Dodgers ushered in 2012 with a divorce settlement," writes Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles in his recap of the busy year at Chavez Ravine, as the team's "year of courting" with its disillusioned fanbase grew to resemble "some obscene Hollywood wedding."
Here's the latest news on both the Dodgers and Angels...
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has always preferred to have a veteran backup catcher, which is why Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times wouldn't be surprised to see the team add an older backstop to compete with Tim Federowicz for the backup job behind A.J. Ellis. Federowicz, 25, has a .781 OPS in 2008 minor league plate appearances but just 20 Major League PAs over the last two seasons.
- The Angels don't have much backup outfield depth beyond Vernon Wells, writes Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. Since the Halos will have to eat the large majority of Wells' contract in a trade anyway, Fletcher argues that the team should hold onto him to see if he can contribute anything as a reserve.
- Between adding Josh Hamilton and addressing their biggest problem at the back of the bullpen, MLB.com's Richard Justice wonders if the Angels have done enough to now be considered World Series favorites.
- The Yankees are not close to a trade for an outfielder, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter links). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says the team continues to look for a right-handed bat, mentioning Vernon Wells, Scott Hairston, and Jeff Baker as targets.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Christian Red of The New York Daily News that there are no plans to further upgrade the team's rotation. New York re-signed Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte earlier this offseason.
- The Orioles removed Steve Pearce from the 40-man roster yesterday, and Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com wonders if the club could be adding another player in his place. Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun hears to would be a "kick-the-tires" addition and not a big name.
The Phillies are still pursuing free agent Cody Ross and also have interest in acquiring Angels outfielder Vernon Wells, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. As Heyman notes, Philadelphia is looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder who can be slotted behind Ryan Howard in the lineup. Ross would be the ideal fit for this role, as it's hard to expect Wells to serve as suitable lineup protection given how his production has dropped off in each of the last two seasons.
Besides the Phillies, the Mets, Mariners and Braves have also been linked to Ross this offseason. The Yankees, Orioles and Red Sox also had interest but may be out of the running now since both clubs have made other outfield signings (Ichiro Suzuki, Nate McLouth and Shane Victorino, respectively).
Wells would be a cheap addition for the Phillies, as the Angels would still have to cover most of the $42MM owed to Wells through the 2014 season. The Yankees have also been rumored as another possible trade destination for Wells. It has been presumed that Wells would waive his no-trade clause to receive more playing time and a fresh start away from Anaheim.
There is plenty of room in the Philadelphia outfield, as only center fielder Ben Revere is thus far slated for an everyday spot in the lineup. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro told media (including Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News) that all options are being considered, including not having everyday corner outfielders.
"We’re still trolling through the possibility of adding another piece there. And we’re also considering the possibility with a double platoon. That’s a possibility as well," Amaro said. "We’ve done some things that have helped our club at a couple of different levels. I don’t think the process of trying to help improve our club stops until the end of the season."
The Angels have a few too many outfielders after signing Josh Hamilton, though they prefer to trade Kendrys Morales or Vernon Wells rather than Peter Bourjos or Mark Trumbo according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Yankees discussed Wells with Anaheim at the Winter Meetings.
Wells, 34, has hit .222/.258/.409 in 791 plate appearances with the Angels over the last two seasons. He's owed $21MM in each of the next two seasons, and the Halos know they'll have to eat most of that to facilitate a trade. The Yankees are seeking a right-handed bat to complement their all-lefty outfield, though they still have interest in free agent Scott Hairston. Wells has hit .266/.312/.481 against southpaws these last two years.
Rosenthal says the Phillies and Rays are also possible fits for Wells, though the former is ramping up their pursuit of Cody Ross. Wells has a full no-trade clause but would likely waive it for a team offering more playing time.
After 25 years as a General Manager and president of the Twins, Cubs, and Orioles, Andy MacPhail stepped away from baseball last season to take care of his ailing father. Now, MacPhail tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that he wants to return to baseball in some capacity. The executive was often viewed as a future commissioner and it would make sense for him to get involved with the league office. He also won't rule out working as a GM again, but he has yet do discuss that with any team and most clubs already have their front office leadership in place. Here's more from Cafardo..
- The Twins have already inquired on Rays pitcher James Shields. Tampa Bay will field plenty of other calls on Shields in the coming weeks but whether they pull the trigger to obtain offense remains to be seen. The Dodgers say they're not shopping Andre Ethier, but it may make sense to use him to get Shields if they have their eye on Josh Hamilton. The problem there is that the Rays may not be able to carry Ethier's contract.
- The Angels are shopping Vernon Wells in an effort to clear some of the $42MM still owed to him. The Halos have tried to start talks with the Red Sox and would like to get John Lackey back, but the Sox are curious to see what Lackey looks like after Tommy John surgery.
- There was speculation that the Red Sox were trying to include Alfredo Aceves in a deal for Dan Haren. The Red Sox love Aceves' arm and stuff, but could do without the high maintenance. Aceves is very much available, but they won’t give him away for nothing. The pitcher can fill different roles, but he still prefers to start.
- The Dodgers would love to reunite with free agent Hiroki Kuroda. The hurler could have more suitors than any other pitcher this winter if the Yankees don't tie him up quickly.
- Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is taking a wait-and-see approach on his agents, the Levinson brothers. A few clients have already jumped ship but Pedroia noted that they have been good to him and his family.
- The Red Sox would like to re-sign Vicente Padilla, but he is on the radar of a few teams, including the Angels, who are desperately looking to retool their bullpen. Padilla ran out of gas late in the year but turned in a decent year in total.
It could be a hectic Friday coming up for Dan Haren and the Angels, as MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez (Twitter link) hears that the Halos won't deal the right-hander today. That leaves just a matter of hours tomorrow for the Angels to make a decision on Haren's $15.5MM option for 2013, whether that decision is to exercise the option, buy it out for $3.5MM or trade Haren to another team. Here's the latest from the Big A...
- In an e-mail to reporters (including Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times), Haren says he expects to be dealt before that Friday evening deadline. "I have had just a bit of dialogue with the Angels about my situation, but I’m kind of getting the feeling that I'll be traded," Haren wrote. "I have no specifics on teams, but that's the vibe I'm getting. It's a little bit disappointing that I won't get to pick where I want to go, but I'm the one who signed on for the option year."
- Haren said he's willing to return to the team on a "fair" one-year contract if he isn't traded and the Halos decline the option. "I think the cost of replacing me as just the No. 4 starter, if they got Zack [Greinke] or someone else, wouldn't be too great, and it would only be for one year," Haren wrote.
- The safest move for the Angels would be to keep Haren until Zack Greinke has been re-signed, opines Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan. If Haren is traded and then Greinke signs elsewhere, the Angels will suddenly have a thin rotation behind Jered Weaver. Haren is a decent option on a net $12MM contract for 2013 and "if Haren can be traded now, he could probably be traded after Thanksgiving" should Greinke indeed return to Anaheim, Sullivan notes.
- The Angels may only be able to bring back Torii Hunter if they clear payroll space by trading Vernon Wells, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. Hunter and the Angels have made "little progress" in negotiations and Hunter tells DiGiovanna that he hasn't spoken to anyone from the Angels in "a couple of weeks." We heard earlier this week that the Halos were unlikely to re-sign the veteran outfielder.
- Hunter also added that he is open to playing for any team, as opposed to his statements in July about retiring if he doesn't end up with the Angels, Dodgers, Yankees or Rangers.
11:14am: The Red Sox have no interest in acquiring Wells, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports.
10:15am: Dipoto could try to send Vernon Wells to the Red Sox along with Haren, Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times suggests (Twitter link). Perhaps the Angels would obtain John Lackey in an exchange of bad contracts.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Wells is in play for others (Twitter links). The Angels are actively trying to trade Wells, who has a full no-trade clause and $42MM remaining on his contract through 2014.
9:00am: The Red Sox are among the teams interested in Dan Haren, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports (on Twitter). The Angels appear to be working to trade Haren and have been weighing possible deals for at least three days.
Haren's contract includes a $15.5MM option with a $3.5MM buyout. The Angels are expected to decline the option if they don’t complete a trade first. Yesterday GM Jerry Dipoto sent Ervin Santana to Kansas City for minor league left-hander Brandon Sisk in a move that could be a precursor to a trade involving Haren.
The 32-year-old started 30 games for the Angels this past season. He posted a 4.33 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 176 2/3 innings, numbers that fall short of his career norms.
Brad Ausmus has a supporter in former teammate Andy Pettitte, who tells Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald that Ausmus would be a "great" choice to manage the Red Sox. Ausmus is one of four candidates (along with Tim Wallach, DeMarlo Hale and Tony Pena) who have interviewed for the job, though the Sox are also negotiating with the Blue Jays about manager John Farrell. Here's the latest from around the AL East...
- Sources familiar with the Dodgers' and Marlins' plans tell Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that neither team has an interest in Alex Rodriguez. The Miami source said that rumors about talks between the Yankees and Marlins about Rodriguez are "BS. [It's] not happening."
- The Angels may not be interested in an A-Rod-for-Vernon Wells deal due to the salary differences and the fact that the Angels see prospect Kaleb Cowart as a potential starting third baseman by 2014, opines MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez (Twitter links).
- Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun grades each member of the Orioles' roster.
- As the Red Sox and Blue Jays continue to negotiate about Farrell, an anonymous AL East GM tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that he isn't a fan of manager trades. "I don't think it's a great practice to deal for managers. I'm surprised the league allows it," says the general manager. "If the guy doesn't want to be there you just let him go. What's the big deal? You get someone else who does want to be there and who you feel will do a good job."
- Gerry Hunsicker and Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman talk to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times about Hunsicker's decision to leave the Rays for the Dodgers.
- From earlier today on MLBTR, I compiled some news about the Blue Jays.
A swap of bad contracts may be the Angels' best way to move Vernon Wells, opines MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez, who lists a few other players with bloated deals that could be acquired in exchange for the remaining two years (and $42MM) on Wells' contract. Even when taking on the likes of John Lackey, Chone Figgins or Barry Zito, however, the Angels would still have to cover the difference on Wells' deal. Gonzalez addressed some other offseason possibilities for the Halos in a reader mailbag....
- Gonzalez predicts the chances of Torii Hunter re-signing with Los Angeles "lean slightly toward him coming back," though the Rangers and Yankees should be interested in the veteran outfielder. Gonzalez predicts Hunter will end up with a one- or two-year contract worth around $9MM per season.
- If Hunter is re-signed, Peter Bourjos could become expendable and would attract attention from several teams in need of center field help.
- The Angels could be better served finding a closer through the trade market than through free agency, Gonzalez opines. He also thinks the Halos should look to add a left-handed reliever.
- The Angels' 2013 payroll should be $10-$15MM lower than last season's $159MM total.
- "The similarities have long been unmistakable" between Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols' contracts, Gonzalez writes. While Pujols' numbers have been declining over the last few seasons, there are reasons that Pujols (33 next season) could age more gracefully than Rodriguez, whose future as an everyday player for the Yankees is in question at age 37.