- The Brewers are having ongoing discussions with the representatives for Craig Counsell, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (on Twitter).
- If you've heard about agent Darek Braunecker, but don't know much about him, you're not alone. David Waldstein of the New York Times introduces us to Cliff Lee's agent.
- The Phillies do not intend to trade Raul Ibanez, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Joe Blanton, on the other hand, is available.
- Rosenthal also notes that the Rangers and Rockies have not discussed Michael Young since the Winter Meetings (Twitter link).
- The Orioles are still talking to the representatives for Adam LaRoche, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.
- Indians manager Manny Acta is watching Bartolo Colon's start in the Dominican Republic tonight, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes (on Twitter).
- Kerry Wood told Fred Mitchell and David Kaplan of the Chicago Tribune that he could see himself playing for the Cubs, but probably not for the White Sox.
- In case you were wondering, the Marlins don't intend to trade Josh Johnson, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro (on Twitter).
- Gary Sheffield told Mike Ferrin and Tom Gordon of MLB Network Radio that he has discussed a potential deal with the Rays. However, manager Joe Maddon told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times that the Rays have limited interest in Sheffield, though they wanted to get to know him better.
Here's some late night odds and ends for the night owls who are still up and running, or early birds who are just rising:
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan opines that offering seven years for Cliff Lee is the right thing for his suitors to do.
- Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News opines that it's better for the Rangers to overpay for Lee than it is to let him go to New York.
- Craig Counsell's agent asked the Brewers for more time to consider his options, tweets MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Milwaukee is anxious to hear whether or not the veteran infielder will return.
- McCalvy also tweets that the Brewers will continue to pursue catching options, even with the near-signing of Wil Nieves.
- McCalvy's colleague Jason Beck tweets confirmation from Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski that the club has considered sending Alfredo Figaro to Japan.
- WEEI.com's Rob Bradford writes that the Blue Jays talked with Jason Varitek prior to his re-signing with Boston. A.J. Pierzynski, whom the Red Sox also contacted, is happy for Varitek regarding his return to Boston, saying "He deserves it."
- A market for D'Backs outfielder Gerardo Parra is developing, tweets FOX Sports Arizona's Jack Magruder. Parra could be moved to help balance out a lineup that's heavy in left-handed hitters.
- The Brewers had "productive" talks with Rickie Weeks' representatives about a potential extension, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Assistant GM Gord Ash says the sides have "reason to continue to talk" to Weeks, who can become a free agent after the 2011 season.
- GM Doug Melvin told Haudricourt that he intends to meet with the agent for Craig Counsell and work a deal out soon. The Brewers have made the veteran infielder more than one proposal.
- The Brewers have another offer out to Chris Capuano and are waiting to hear from him.
- Manager Ron Roenicke says the team would like to pair Jonathan Lucroy with a veteran catcher next year, according to Haudricourt (Twitter link).
- The Brewers seem hesitant to commit to a pitcher coming back from an injury, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
- Melvin says the Brewers haven't called the agent for Jeff Francis, though they've been linked to the left-hander repeatedly. The team scouted Brandon Webb, but their level of interest in the former Cy Young Award winner seems low.
- The Brewers have had discussions with the Braves, but Melvin says he doesn't have any ongoing talks with Atlanta.
MONDAY, 11:26am: The Brewers and Braves are making early pushes for outfielder/first baseman Eric Hinske, tweets Tim Brown of Yahoo. On Friday, MLB.com's Mark Bowman reported that the Braves made a one-year offer in the $1.5MM range in hopes of retaining Hinske. Interest is mutual, but Hinske wants a two-year deal.
Hinske, 33, hit .256/.338/.456 with 11 home runs in 320 plate appearances this year. He logged innings at left field and first base, and has also played right field and third base in his career. He's a left-handed hitter who has been shielded from southpaws by his managers in recent years. Given recent contracts given to Geoff Blum and Ross Gload, Hinske has a case for two years.
Thursday night linkage..
- Agent Scott Boras said in an interview on MLB Network Radio that he has never seen more interest in a player than he has for client Adrian Beltre.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journel-Sentinel (via Twitter) that he is "making progress" towards a deal with Craig Counsell.
- Zack Greinke has yet to present the Royals with his list of clubs that he refuses to be traded to, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that A's GM Billy Beane said that no move will be ruled out this winter except for dealing starters Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, and Dallas Braden.
- A source told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter) that he thinks the Diamondbacks will look for a short-term solution at first base. As Morosi points out, this would mean that Paul Konerko would not be the answer in Arizona.
- John Romano of the St. Petersburg Times thinks the Rays should re-sign Carlos Pena.
- Nats reliever Joe Bisenius has elected free agency after being outrighted, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com. The fireballer was a September call-up this year but made just five appearances.
- Jayson Stark of ESPN (via Twitter) expects free agent Hiroki Kuroda to remain with the Dodgers.
- While Justin Marks may not blossom into a superstar, some think that he could develop into a No. 3 or 4 starter, writes MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. The Royals acquired the left-hander from Oakland along with Vin Mazzaro in exchange for David DeJesus.
- In an interview on MLB Network Radio, free agent Craig Counsell said there's a "definite possibility" that he could return to the Brewers.
The Brewers introduced new manager Ron Roenicke at a press conference on Thursday, and GM Doug Melvin spoke to the media about the upcoming free agent period afterwards. Tom Haudricourt of The Journal Sentinel fills us in on the details…
- Melvin told right-hander Dave Bush that "he should test the market." Bush didn't take it as a sign that the team will not attempt to re-sign him however, he told Haudricourt that Melvin encouraged him to explore the market since it's his first time as a free agent.
- Melvin indicated that he had calls into the agents for Chris Capuano and Craig Counsell, and that it's possible he'll make them offers before other teams can jump in.
- There has been no indication that the team will try to bring Trevor Hoffman, Doug Davis, and/or Gregg Zaun back. The Brewers recently declined the club options for all three players.
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy reports that Milwaukee has re-signed right-hander Tim Dillard to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. The 27 year old spent the season in Triple-A working on a new sidearm delivery.
Tuesday night links, as Scott Baker makes his first start for the Twins in nearly three weeks….
- Jim Hendry will officially interview Ryne Sandberg for the Cubs' manager job, reports Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago. According to Levine's sources, the club also plans to talk to Pat Listach, Bob Melvin, and Bob Brenly.
- A "reliable source" told Jim Bowden (Twitter link) that the D'Backs are set to offer Kevin Towers their GM job. Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona says no job offer has been made yet, though the team met with Towers again today (Twitter link).
- Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly reports (via Twitter) that the Phillies have signed Franklyn Zavala, a 16-year-old Dominican pitcher, for a $330K bonus.
- Understandably, Joe Torre's comments about the possibility of managing the Mets didn't sit well with current manager Jerry Manuel, as Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger writes. Torre apologized for his comments, telling Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he's "closing the door on managing the Mets – and probably everybody else" (Twitter links).
- Astros manager Brad Mills avoided the question of whether Carlos Lee would play more first base in 2011, says MLB.com's Pete Kerzel. Alyson Footer, the team's director of social media, notes in a pair of tweets that first base is Lee's strongest position and she'd like to see him there next year.
- Pat Gillick won't rule out taking another general manager job if the right situation arises, writes Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
- Craig Counsell tells Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link) that he'll be back in 2011, either for the Brewers or another club.
Brewers infielder Craig Counsell recently cleared waivers, suggesting no team was willing to take on the prorated portion of his $2.3MM salary (currently $600K). Counsell can now be traded to any team, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Brewers seek "a legit return." Rosenthal notes that the Brewers received Chris Dickerson for Jim Edmonds, though I'll point out that Edmonds was having a stronger season at a lower salary and did get claimed on waivers by multiple clubs. In terms of the Counsell market, Rosenthal says the Cardinals inquired and backed off while the Braves have yet to inquire.
Counsell, 40 in a few days, is hitting .246/.317/.305 in 188 plate appearances this season. He's mostly played on the left side of the infield this year, but has plenty of career experience at second base. Counsell has had a disappointing season, though it seems to amount to a dip in playing time and batting average. He's not a clear upgrade for a contender, so he could stay put unless the asking price drops in the 15 days leading up to the waiver trade deadline.
Infielders Geoff Blum and Craig Counsell have cleared waivers, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). The Astros and Brewers can now trade their respective veterans to any team. The Braves and Cardinals both lost third basemen, so Blum and Counsell could draw interest. Blum ($1.5MM, mutual option for 2011) and Counsell ($2.1MM) both make modest salaries, play second third and short and can hit the open market after the season.
Here's MLBTR's complete list of players to clear waivers.
In today's blog post at ESPN, Buster Olney speculates about some possible trade targets for the Rockies now that Troy Tulowitzki is going to miss the next six to eight weeks with a fractured wrist. Among those mentioned: Dan Uggla, Craig Counsell, Julio Lugo, and Cesar Izturis. Uggla would obviously be the most expensive, but Colorado would boast a dynamic offensive middle infield once Tulo returns.
Here are the rest of Olney's rumors…
- Sources tell Olney there is no clear signal from the Mariners indicating that they're ready to trade Cliff Lee, but presumably that will come soon. He compares a potential Lee trade to the CC Sabathia trade, meaning that the sooner he's dealt, the more Seattle will receive in return.
- The Diamondbacks continue to gather intel about possible trades, but they are not close to making another deal at the moment.
- The Royals have a pair of outfielders in Rick Ankiel and David DeJesus who could be fits for the Red Sox. J.D. Drew suffered a hamstring injury yesterday, and Boston was already without Jacoby Ellsbury and Jeremy Hermida, who are both on the disabled list. Mike Cameron is playing through an abdominal tear as well.