Yu Darvish Rumors
Some odds and ends as Sunday night winds down ...
- The Rangers can afford to sign both Yu Darvish and Prince Fielder, tweets Jim Bowden of ESPN.
- The Twins had interest in signing relievers Dan Wheeler and Todd Coffey before inking Joel Zumaya, tweets Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities radio. Mackey adds he'd be surprised if the Twins closed the door entirely on signing either righty.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said in a statement that the two club options included in Gio Gonzalez's extension were key to getting the deal done, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- The Rockies were not interested in signing Bartolo Colon, now of the A's, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
- The Red Sox officially announced the signings of right-handers Aaron Cook and Justin Germano to minor league contracts, tweets Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.
The Rangers and Yu Darvish have until this coming Tuesday to reach an agreement on a contract, and Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports that the biggest sticking point in negotiations is contract length. The team wants a six-year deal, but the right-hander wants five years so he can become a free agent sooner.
Texas is offering Darvish a contract similar to the one Daisuke Matsuzaka signed with the Red Sox five years ago, meaning six years and $52MM. The 25-year-old right-hander will still be young enough to land one more big contract after a potential deal with the Rangers expires, but a shorter deal will allow him to hit the open market sooner. Passan says the likelihood of a total breakdown in talks is minimal since the relationship between the two sides is "strong and respectful."
Thursday night linkage..
- Mark Bowman of MLB.com believes that both Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens will be with the Braves at the start of the season.
- The Nationals are still talking with Rick Ankiel, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. If he returns, it would be in a platoon/fourth outfielder role, with a chance to earn more playing time.
- As a fan, losing shortsop Jose Reyes to the Marlins was difficult for Mets owner Fred Wilpon, writes Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal.
- Rangers president Nolan Ryan told reporters that he expects the club to sign Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish by the 3pm Wednesday deadline, writes Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram. Ryan also believes that the negotiations will go down to the wire.
- Both Ryan Ludwick and Rick Ankiel remain possibilities for the Reds, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. GM Walt Jocketty is familiar with both outfielders from his time in St. Louis.
- A person familiar with the Yankees' thinking told Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger that "January brings shifts" and it's possible that the club will add to their payroll in order to satisfy their pitching need. The Bombers are still in contact with Hiroki Kuroda and Roy Oswalt and are considering Edwin Jackson.
- From a negotiation standpoint, it doesn't make sense for Yoenis Cespedes to play in the Dominican Winter League, opines Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- Right-hander Brian Gordon, whose rights were sold by the Yankees to the SK Wyverns of the Korean Professional League over the summer, will remain with in the KBL after signing with the Samsung Lions, tweets Ken Davidoff of Newsday.
- Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will play in the Dominican Winter League, Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com reports. Cespedes will initially DH for the Aguilas Cibaenas, which will enable teams to get in-game looks at him before he becomes a free agent.
- Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com checks in with Dmitri Young, the 38-year-old two-time All-Star who is attempting a comeback after losing 70 pounds.
- Commissioner Bud Selig says he will “of course" commit to developing a succession plan before his new contract expires, Bill Shaikin of the LA Times tweets. Selig's extension runs through the 2014 season.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com outlines some reasons that Selig has been good for baseball. John Moores of the Padres was the lone owner not to vote in favor of the commissioner's extension, Heyman tweets.
- The Rangers are increasingly optimistic about their chances of reaching a deal with Yu Darvish by next week's deadline, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports.
- Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com breaks down the Mets' projected 2012 payroll and arrives at a $90MM total -- $50MM less than the club’s Opening Day payroll in 2011.
Prince Fielder remains available, but as MLB.com's Tom Singer shows, most elite free agents sign considerably earlier on in the offseason. In fact, there's a chance Fielder will sign the latest megadeal in baseball history. Here are the latest rumors on Fielder, as we await concrete news of his next destination...
- The Nationals are “patiently and aggressively” pursuing Fielder, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports. Nationals principal owners Ted and Mark Lerner met with agent Scott Boras at the owners’ meetings this evening, according to Kilgore. Boras touched base with other owners, including Jeffrey Loria of the Marlins.
- MLB.com’s Bill Ladson hears that there’s a 99% chance that the Nationals will not sign Fielder.
- Someone with knowledge of the Rangers’ finances doubts they’d invest in Yu Darvish and Fielder, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Morosi notes that the Nationals are viewed as the favorites for Fielder.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com suggests Fielder may not sign until the Rangers finish negotiating with Darvish next week (Twitter link). Heyman notes that the Rangers are a “team of interest” when it comes to Fielder.
The Rangers are offering "Dice-K money" to Yu Darvish, sources tell Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, and there's no evidence a deal is close. Daisuke Matsuzaka received a six-year, $52MM deal from the Red Sox about five years ago. Heyman says it's not clear whether the Rangers' offer to Darvish is for five or six years. The deadline to work out a deal is January 18th at 4pm central time. The Rangers won the exclusive right to negotiate with Darvish for $51,703,411, which would be returned to them from the Nippon Ham Fighters if they fail to reach an agreement with Darvish.
In October, I polled five agents and one team executive and most predicted a five or six-year deal in the $72-75MM range for Darvish.
Time for some links from baseball's two West divisions...
- "I think so," said Dodgers GM Ned Colletti when asked if he was done with his free agent shopping, reports Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times (on Twitter). They re-signed Mike MacDougal to a one-year deal today, the tenth free agent they've signed this winter.
- The Rangers continue to have dialogue about long-term contract extensions with core players like Ian Kinsler and Derek Holland, reports Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas. "Our general feeling is to try not to negotiate during the year, but we've made exceptions," said GM Jon Daniels.
- Daniels also refused to comment about the Rangers' talks with Yu Darvish, reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. "It's best for us to lay low," said the GM. "The less noise around that, the better."
- Athletics GM Billy Beane told MLB.com's Jane Lee that he has some interest in a few free agent outfielders, and he's also exploring trade possibilities (Twitter link). Bullpen help is another possibility, says Joe Stiglich of The Bay Area News Group (on Twitter).
- Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said they are "still keeping our ears open" regarding veteran starters even after signing Hisashi Iwakuma, reports Shannon Drayer of MyNorthwest.com (on Twitter).
- ESPN's Buster Olney says (on Twitter) that the union calculated the value of Albert Pujols' contract with the Angels at $246,841,811. Ronald Blum of the AP has a breakdown of the perks in the contract, such as a suite on road trips.
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post has the details of Wil Nieves' minor league contract with the Rockies (on Twitter). The backstop will earn $700K in the majors and $14K per month in the minors. He's also been invited to Spring Training.
Yesterday we heard that Yu Darvish was in the Dallas-Forth Worth Metroplex to see the area as well as the Rangers' operations first-hand. No deal is close though, and the two sides have 13 days to get one done. Here's the latest from Texas, courtesy of MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan...
- "We love Mike and we're not closing the door on anything but right now we are focused on a one-year deal," said Daniels in reference to a long-term deal for Mike Napoli. The backstop is arbitration-eligible for the final time and projects to earn $8.5MM in 2012. The two sides were discussing a long-term deal last month.
- Daniels made it clear the team is not interested in Prince Fielder as their focus right now is on Darvish. If something falls apart with the righty, Sullivan speculates that they could turn their attention to Fielder.
- The Rangers are still interested in upgrading their bullpen, with lefty relief being a primary focus. Texas recently lost southpaw Darren Oliver to the Blue Jays.
Yu Darvish is currently in the Dallas-Forth Worth Metroplex with his father to see the area and get a first-hand look at the Rangers' operations, reports Jeff Wilson of The Star-Telegram. The two sides are not close to a deal, however. "He isn't [there] for a press conference," said one of Wilson's sources, who notes that Darvish will return to Japan this week to begin his offseason workouts. Here's the latest on the right-hander...
- The two sides have until January 17th to reach a deal, reports Maury Brown of The Biz of Baseball (on Twitter). We're exactly two weeks away.
- "There's no reason to think this won't get done," said a high-ranking baseball person to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. "There's no reason to think this has to go to the deadline, either." Most contract negotiations through the posting process have gone right down to the wire.
- Heyman's sources have suggested that Darvish would seek at least $65MM over five years.
- The Yankees bid just $15MM for Darvish, reports Heyman (on Twitter).
After ranking MLB's best rotations, bullpens, infields, outfields, and lineups in December, ESPN.com's Buster Olney opened up 2012 with his overall power rankings. The Rays are ranked No. 1 thanks in large part to their outstanding rotation. This year, Matt Moore joins the mix and Olney writes that the left-hander has the numbers and the ability of Stephen Strasburg without the same level of hype behind him. Of course, the club still has some issues to address, such as the identity of their first baseman and designated hitter. However, Olney feels that their pitching makes them the top club in baseball at present. Here are some highlights from today's column..
- It's possible that the Padres could negotiate a very team-friendly two- or three-year deal with the Carlos Quentin before arbitration. However, it's hard to imagine the club investing heavily in the outfielder before gauging how much he can stay on the field and how his power translates to pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
- The Phillies would still like to find an alternative to the oft-injured Placido Polanco. In October, skipper Charlie Manuel said that he would be in favor of an upgrade at third base if possible. The club dangled Polanco in early December when it seemed as if they might lose Jimmy Rollins to free agency and look to sign Aramis Ramirez to play third.
- The Cubs are talking with a number of teams about Matt Garza, including the Marlins. A lot of baseball scouts are not wild about the quality and depth of the prospects in Miami's farm system.
- Yu Darvish is not yet signed with the Rangers, but rival executives don't believe he has much leverage and will eventually work out a deal.