Yoenis Cespedes Rumors
Jason Varitek is facing a very difficult decision, and the catcher has been considering the very difficult reality of retirement, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Varitek, who turns 40 in April, would seem to be a good fit in Minnesota. The Twins will likely carry three catchers as Joe Mauer will need time to DH and rest and Ryan Doumit will mostly DH while also backing up Mauer.
Varitek isn't the only veteran wondering about his baseball future. Ivan Rodriguez, Johnny Damon, Magglio Ordonez, and Vladimir Guerrero also hope to continue playing in 2012. Here's more from Cafardo..
- There is a lot of speculation that the Nationals will deal John Lannan to the Angels for Peter Bourjos, with the Halos putting Mike Trout in center field. The Nats beat Lannan in arbitration last week and were said to be aggressively shopping the left-hander.
- Alternatively, the Nats could move Jayson Werth to center and sign a right fielder. Cafardo adds that it now appears that Yoenis Cespedes is not in their plans and they have cooled on B.J. Upton.
- Javier Vazquez is retired for now, but Cafardo wonders if a team could convince him to play. An AL GM remarked that Vazquez would be a perfect fourth or fifth starter on a contending team and believes that the pitcher looks as good as he's ever been.
- Scott Boras is no longer representing Manny Ramirez. Ramirez signed on with Boras in early 2008 and the agent negotiated the slugger's two-year, $45MM contract with the Dodgers the following year.
- Boras wound up receiving eight offers in total for Prince Fielder, including the winning bid from the Tigers.
- A couple of agents are frustrated after dealing with the Red Sox front office/ownership lately as compared to what they were used to in the past. However, there has been quite a bit of praise for GM Ben Cherington.
- Right-hander Brandon Webb hasn't given up on pitching and according to one American League executive, the plan is for the 32-year-old to throw for teams sometime in March.
- Mark Prior is also looking to attempt one more comeback. The right-hander, who spent some of last season with the Yankees, had surgery for a sports hernia and the problem isn't completely corrected. Like Webb, Prior could work out for teams as early as March.
- Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger was supposed to be in Red Sox minor league camp but instead ripped up his elbow long-tossing over the winter. The veteran will unfortunately miss the season.
- Cafardo feels that the Red Sox missed an opportunity to sign Edwin Jackson to a good value deal at one year, $10MM and shouldn’t let Roy Oswalt slip away now.
- Not a huge surprise here, but Sabean said that the Giants won't go after Yoenis Cespedes, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. "The price tag is probably beyond what his talent is," the GM said. The outfielder still has a number of suitors including the Marlins, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, and Tigers.
- Sabean said that Ramon Ramirez was included in the Andres Torres-Angel Pagan trade in December to even out the money, Schulman tweets. Back in December, the GM admitted that if the Giants hadn't traded Ramirez, they would have tendered the right-hander a contract.
- Speaking of Torres, a competing baseball exec told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter) that he sees the former Giant as a fifth outfielder, even though he is slated to start in center field for the Mets. Heyman agrees with that assertion.
The Marlins’ offseason is nearing completion, but there’s business to attend to before Opening Day. Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel has the latest from team president David Samson...
- Samson isn’t sure whether Yoenis Cespedes will visit the Miami area before deciding where to sign, but the sides continue to talk. “Our offseason is not dependent on signing Cespedes at all,” Samson said.
- Samson ruled out an extension for Anibal Sanchez, at least for now. Sanchez’s arbitration hearing will take place tomorrow, so we’ll soon know whether he’ll earn $8MM or $6.9MM in 2012. I examined Sanchez as an extension candidate earlier this week.
- Samson doesn’t expect Juan Carlos Oviedo to be on the Marlins’ Opening Day roster, but he said the 29-year-old right-hander will likely be in Spring Training. MLB may discipline Oviedo for falsifying his identity.
- Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson are ready for the season, Samson said.
A few odds and ends to pass along as Nolan Ryan (65) and Ernie Banks (81) celebrate birthdays. Jackie Robinson would have turned 93 today ...
- The Magic Johnson-Stan Kasten ownership group could be the leader to purchase the Dodgers, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, as that group will likely procure the financial backing of billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong. Soon-Shiong is a close friend of Johnson's and once purchased Magic's minority stake in the Lakers.
- The Rangers and Nelson Cruz are working on avoiding an arbitration hearing, the outfielder tells Enrique Rojas of ESPN.com. Cruz also said that while the sides are negotiating for a one-year agreement, they are leaving open the door to a multiyear pact.
- Yoenis Cespedes will likely visit the Marlins within the next week, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Miami has long been considered among the leaders to sign the 27-year-old outfielder who recently defected from Cuban, although the the Cubs and other teams "remain deeply involved," per Rosenthal.
Here's the latest on Yoenis Cespedes, who was officially declared a free agent last week...
- "We are aware of the [Spring Training] dates," said agent Adam Katz to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). "We expect him to be in camp with one of the clubs." Katz also called the market for Cespedes "meaningful and aggressive."
- The Marlins, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, and Tigers are five of the six clubs that have been in serious talks with Cespedes, reports ESPN's Jim Bowden (Twitter links). He is expected to travel to the United States in the next 7-10 days for face-to-face meetings.
- Baseball America's Jim Callis said he would rank Cespedes in the 7-15 range of their top 100 prospects list, and that he would take over as the top prospect of pretty much any team that signs him.
As the Phillie Phanatic hangs out with Tina Fey and the gang on 30 Rock, here's the latest from the NL East...
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told media (including Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post) that the Nats are still "not done with our bullpen," even after signing Brad Lidge. Rizzo said he is still looking to improve the rotation if possible but said the Nationals will stick with internal options for the center field job.
- ESPN New York's Adam Rubin looks at the difficulties facing the Wilpon family as they try to keep ownership of the Mets.
- The Mets could have the biggest one-year payroll drop in baseball history, reports Rubin.
- Signing Yoenis Cespedes would be a "big risk" for the Marlins, opined outfielder Logan Morrison while appearing on Sirius XM Radio's First Pitch yesterday (passed on by the Miami Herald's Clark Spencer). Morrison thinks the club should try to sign him, but in reference to Cespedes' athletic feats in his famous YouTube intro clip, Morrison said "...you don't need to catch balls behind your back in games, and you don't need to jump 100 feet in the air and leg press 20,000 pounds, or whatever the heck he's doing. It's all about playing the game the right way and applying your skills to the game. And if he can do that, then he'll be very, very dangerous."
- The Phillies' payroll and its proximity to the luxury tax threshold is examined by Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
A few stray items to pass along as the night winds down ...
- Jeff Francis, who agreed to terms with the Reds on a minor league deal, can earn a base salary of $1.5MM if he makes the big league club, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. The deal could be worth as much as $3.25MM with incentives and includes a March 28 opt-out clause, reports Crasnick (Twitter links).
- The Orioles remain interested in signing Yoenis Cespedes, according to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, and will send a contingent to further scout the Cuban free agent in next week's Carribean Series in the Dominican Republic.
- Several general managers of small- and mid-market clubs are concerned the new labor agreement has furthered the divide between baseballs haves and have-nots, writes Buster Olney of ESPN.com. In particular, the greater the number of teams that continue to shell out massive contracts, the more it encourages players on small-market clubs to refrain from signing extensions prior to free agency.
- Brad Lidge told the Phillies he wanted to stay in Philly, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN, but they apparently had no interest in retaining the right-hander. We heard earlier today that the Phils made a "lowball" offer to Lidge, who instead agreed to terms with the Nats.
- MLBTR's Tim Dierkes appeared on Tuesday's BP Podcast with Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus. You can download the mp3 or listen through iTunes.
Here's the latest out of the Motor City regarding Prince Fielder's huge contract and some other items of note ...
- Contrary to many large, backloaded contracts, Fielder's nine-year deal is structured so that he'll earn $23MM in each of the first two years, and $24MM in each of the seven years thereafter, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN).
- Fielder's deal also includes a limited no-trade clause, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
- Fielder's agent, Scott Boras, told Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio that he did not receive an offer from the Tigers on Prince until after news broke of Victor Martinez's season-ending knee injury (Twitter link).
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said Detroit is "most likely" out of the running for free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, although he cautioned that "you never can tell," tweets Jason Beck of MLB.com.
- The Tigers might still sign another pitcher, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, although it would likely be on a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.
MLB has informed teams that Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is now a free agent, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports. Cespedes, a client of Adam Katz of Wasserman Media Group, recently gained residency in the Dominican Republic.
Earlier this week, it appeared that the Cubs, Marlins, and Tigers were the teams most actively targeting Cespedes. The White Sox, Orioles, Indians, Yankees, Phillies, Blue Jays and Rangers also appear to have some interest in Cespedes, but the Nationals aren’t involved.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com's reports (on Twitter) that the Marlins briefly considered trading Hanley Ramirez to free up money so they could sign Prince Fielder, but they decided against it. Prince is in Detroit now, and Hanley will come to camp as the third baseman.
- The Marlins are prepared to make a significant offer to Yoenis Cespedes according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. He says it'll be four-to-six years in length. Cespedes recently gained residency in the Dominican Republic, and is waiting to be declared a free agent by MLB.
- Meanwhile, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter) that Cespedes has told teams he would prefer not to play in Miami. However, Friasro tweets that Cespedes has no issues playing for the Marlins.