- Tomko suffered a nerve injury on September 14th that caused his biceps to atrophy to the point of resembling lumpy gravy. The biceps is better now, but Tomko trying to pitch through forearm numbness. He hopes to be game-ready by the start of the season and spoke of a preference for the A's or Giants.
- Kennedy is talking to the Nationals and Indians, but continues to wait on Orlando Hudson's decision.
- Nomar is "widely expected" to retire. If he does, he'd bow out at age 36 with a career line of .313/.361/.521.
Some links for your Tuesday night…
- Melvin Mora wasn't the only former Oriole the Rockies were interested in this offseason. Dan O'Dowd & Co. had interest in Miguel Tejada before he signed with the Orioles, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post. The Rockies were willing to spend on Tejada, but the infielder didn't seem to like the idea of rotating between infield positions.
- The Giants have only engaged Tim Lincecum in "very insignificant" conversations about two-year deals, the pitcher's agent tells Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. Rick Thurman expects the sides to go to a hearing.
- Even scouts aren't sure when Erik Bedard will be able to pitch, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Peter Gammons tweets some advice to Adam Kennedy: call the Tigers.
- Tyler Hissey says Boston's improved defense should combine with the club's deep rotation to prevent more runs, especially if Clay Buchholz breaks out.
3:00pm: MLB.com's Bill Ladson talked to Adam Kennedy, who said the Nationals "basically let us know that they are kind of waiting on Orlando." Hudson earned about $7MM last year after incentives and seemingly isn't ready to accept the inevitable pay cut. He's not coming off an injury this time, but it may be difficult to top last year's $3.38MM guarantee.
9:04am: The Mariners "remain a long shot candidate" to sign free agent second baseman Orlando Hudson, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi admits that some roster maneuvering would be necessary to accomodate Hudson, as the Ms already have Jose Lopez at second and a full slate of position players. I should add that whether Hudson is an upgrade over Lopez overall is an open question.
Morosi names the Nationals, Indians, and Twins as Hudson's other suitors. We learned yesterday that the Twins are serious, while the Rockies are out.
FRIDAY, 8:32pm: MLB.com's Bill Ladson reports that Hudson is looking for $9MM, but the Nationals are only willing to pay him a third of that. GM Mike Rizzo has spoken to Hudson recently, however they talked about how he would fit with the team, rather than dollars and years.
THURSDAY, 3:15pm: Chico Harlan of the Washington Post hears that the Nationals are waiting on Hudson's decision.
10:32am: Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports suggested yesterday three teams are in on free agent second baseman Orlando Hudson. Today, Rosenthal says six teams are "showing varying degrees of interest."
The Nationals are one of those clubs, though MLB.com's Bill Ladson tweets that Hudson's price is still too high and they're considering either going internal or signing Adam Kennedy or Orlando Cabrera.
Rosenthal indicates Hudson is the "linchpin" of the free agent infield market, with the fates of Kennedy, Cabrera, Felipe Lopez, and Melvin Mora tied to Hudson. Regarding Mora, a Rosenthal tweet has the Rangers, Rockies, Mariners, and Reds in the mix.
Rosenthal's list of teams that are or could be looking for infield help includes the Nats, Twins, Reds, Tigers, Rockies, Mariners, Rays, and Cardinals. Morosi likes Kennedy as a match for Detroit.
Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports provide the latest Cubs rumblings…
- Morosi reported Wednesday that the Cubs were "engaged in negotiations" with free agent reliever Kiko Calero. However, he now says their interest has waned. A right-handed setup man is still a primary item on the Cubs' shopping list.
- Previous reports have connected the Cubs to outfielders Xavier Nady, Jonny Gomes, Rocco Baldelli, and Reed Johnson. The FOX writers say Nady is the Cubs' top choice unless Dye's contract demands come down.
- The Cubs seek rotation insurance, but the FOX writers confirm ESPN's Jayson Stark Saturday suggestion that Ben Sheets is unlikely. Perhaps Mark Mulder, linked to the Cubs Tuesday by Morosi, is more feasible.
- Though the Cubs have looked into Adam Kennedy and Orlando Hudson, adding a second baseman is not a high priority.
Links for Wednesday…
- The Rays signed 16-year-old lefty Stepan Havlicek out of the Czech Republic, according to a press release. He is "believed to be the first ever signed by the Rays out of Europe."
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports takes a look at the significance of Tim Lincecum's arbitration case. SI's Jon Heyman believes a two-year, $24MM deal would work for both sides.
- Heyman also notes that the Rays, Marlins, and Nationals have a policy not to compromise after figures are filed.
- In another article, Morosi says Adam Kennedy is down to three teams, two of which would use him as an everyday second baseman.
- Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram informs us about Colby Lewis, the newest member of the Rangers' rotation.
- WEEI's Alex Speier tells you everything you ever wanted to know (and then some) about the Red Sox and their efforts to minimize their competitive balance tax.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker says 34-year-old screwballing lefty Hisanori Takahashi may have a big league offer. The Orioles are one interested party, according to MASN's Roch Kubatko.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times says the Mariners appear to have about $10MM left to spend.
Some links on this Wednesday evening…
- Yorvit Torrealba could end up with the Giants, according to Chris Haft of MLB.com. However, Torrealba may prefer to wait until after the weekend to sign with any club as his Venezuelan Winter League team is still active in the postseason.
- Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times tweets that in addition to Matt Kemp, the Dodgers are talking about multiyear deals with Jonathan Broxton and Andre Ethier.
- Carlos Beltran will have to refrain from baseball activities for twelve weeks after having his knee scoped, according to a Mets press release passed along by MetsBlog. The story was first reported by the New York Post's Joel Sherman (via Twitter). If all goes well with his rehabilitation, the center fielder should only miss a small amount of games to start the year.
- Free agent lefty Doug Davis is attracting interest from four teams, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Twins, Brewers, Mets, and Nationals are all interested in the 34-year-old, who posted a 4.22 ERA with 6.7 K/9 over the last three years in Arizona.
- Fernando Tatis' agent told Thomas Harding of MLB.com that the Rockies had preliminary discussions with his client earlier this week. About a week ago, we heard that the Rockies were eyeing the 35-year-old for a bench role. Also, two major league sources tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that the Mariners are interested as well.
- Former Brewers closer Derrick Turnbow will audition for at least 16 teams on Friday in Phoenix, according to a report from ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. The 31-year-old demanded his release from the Rangers back in May.
- If the Nats are able to sign Orlando Hudson or Adam Kennedy to play second base, Cristian Guzman and his $8MM salary are unlikely to be moved elsewhere, writes Bill Ladson of MLB.com. Guzman would remain at shortstop, where his agent insists that he is still valuable despite shoulder surgery.
- Pittsburgh's signing of Ryan Church could pay huge dividends for the club, says ESPN's Rob Neyer. If Church is healthy and generates interest from other clubs, the Pirates will be able to move him for a more valuable commodity.
9:44pm: "Don't look for [the Nationals] to offer Hudson a two-year deal," a source tells Ladson. The source also says that the Nats only want to give Hudson a deal akin to Juan Uribe's one-year, $3.25MM contract with San Francisco, feeling that Uribe's deal "set the market for infielders like Hudson." Ladson's piece also goes into greater detail about Washington's interest in Adam Kennedy.
11:48am: The Nationals would be willing to offer a two-year deal to free agent second baseman Orlando Hudson at the right price, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi mentioned on Twitter that the "per annum wouldn't be too high." MLB.com's Bill Ladson tweets that Hudson "wants $9MM for 2010," which is out of the Nats' price range. It seems likely that the handful of other teams considering second base help would also not be interested at that price.
Hudson, 32, did not sign last year until February 20th. His contract with the Dodgers guaranteed only $3.38MM, but he ultimately earned about $8MM after incentives. He hit .283/.357/.417, but lost playing time down the stretch. If you are a believer in the defensive stat UZR, Hudson has been average at best the last few years. The Nationals, who Morosi says are "prioritizing defense," must be evaluating Hudson in some other manner.
The Nationals "have interest" in Adam Kennedy, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson (via Twitter). We've heard that the Mets, Athletics and Marlins have targeted Kennedy to various degrees, but this is the first time that Washington has been attached to the veteran infielder.
In a mailbag story from Ladson yesterday, he felt the Nats would have a second baseman with a better glove than Cristian Guzman in their Opening Day lineup. While Guzman would be playing 2B for the first time in his career, Kennedy's play at second has fluctuated wildly over the last three seasons. Fangraphs charts his UZR/150 as -5.7 in 2007, leaping up to 21.8 in 2008 and then down to -14.8 last year. Guzman, meanwhile, has kept a middling but stable -0.8 UZR/150 as a shortstop since 2002.
In that same mailbag, Ladson also noted that Felipe Lopez was not a candidate for the Nats' search for middle infield help given that Lopez "left on bad terms" in 2008 when Washington released him in mid-season. Orlando Hudson, however, appears to be on the club's wish list and as we learned earlier today, may be offered a two-year contract.
2:04pm: Tejada told a Spanish-speaking AP reporter that he's willing to play any infield position, according to Jorge Arangure Jr. of ESPN.com. Arangure Jr. cites Tejada's road numbers (.283/.313/.395) and fading defense and suggests that the infielder will have to accept a one-year deal with a low annual salary.
12:50pm: Slusser now says Tejada's representatives contacted the A's, not the other way around. The chances of a reunion don't sound great.
She says the A's inquired on Andy LaRoche a while ago, only to hear that the Pirates wanted Ryan Sweeney and Gio Gonzalez in return. Slusser suggests the A's would like to acquire a high-quality young infielder to play third or short. Failing that, the team could turn to a bargain free agent.
11:42am: The A's would consider adding an infielder who can play third base, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Two of the options they're considering are former A's Miguel Tejada and Adam Kennedy. The A's have contacted Tejada's agent and the sides could work a deal out if Tejada lowers his asking price.
After hitting .315/.340/.455, Tejada may be reluctant to sign at a discount and is apparently looking for a two-year $16MM offer. The Twins and Orioles are possible fits for the former AL MVP.
The A's also like Kennedy, but would prefer to add a player with experience at short. The infielder, who turns 34 this weekend, hit .289/.348/.410 in nearly 600 plate appearances last year. His defense was below average at second and third, according to UZR/150. We heard earlier in the week that Kennedy was Plan D or E for the A's.