- Though the Rockies continue looking for starting pitching, they aren’t close to signing Carl Pavano or Derek Lowe, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports. Renck reported earlier this week that the Rockies were pursuing the free agent right-handers aggressively.
- The Rockies would love to sign free agent catcher Yorvit Torrealba to a minor league deal, Renck reports. The veteran backstop played for the Rangers, Brewers and Blue Jays in 2012.
- The Yankees discussed Delmon Young internally, but didn’t have great reports on his performance, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). The Phillies signed Young to a one-year contract yesterday.
- Vernon Wells could spend much of the coming season on the Angels’ bench, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. Wells is unlikely to be traded, yet he doesn’t project as a regular. Though the Angels explored deals involving Wells, owner Arte Moreno was never willing to absorb a substantial part of the $42MM remaining on Wells’ contract to complete a trade. Naturally other teams weren’t interested in paying Wells $21MM per season through 2014.
The Rockies signed Chris Volstad yesterday, but that’s not stopping them from going after more veteran pitching. The club is “aggressively pursuing” free agent right-handers Carl Pavano and Derek Lowe, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports. The Rockies would like to complete another deal this week.
Lowe, a 39-year-old client of the Boras Corporation, posted a 5.11 ERA with 3.5 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 142 2/3 innings for the Indians and Yankees this past season. He has drawn interest from multiple teams as a free agent. Pavano, 37, has drawn interest from the Mets, Twins and Marlins this winter. The Dave Pepe client posted a 6.00 ERA in 63 innings for the Twins in 2012, spending considerable time on the disabled list with a shoulder strain.
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 Rockies have expressed "mild interest" in Jeff Karstens, reports Troy Renck of The Denver Post. Renck reiterates that the team also has some interest in Brandon Webb, plus they remain open to trades for pitching. They have not had conversations about free agents Derek Lowe or Aaron Cook, however.
The Pirates non-tendered Karstens in November rather than pay the 30-year-old right-hander a projected $3.8MM salary in 2013. He pitched to a 3.97 ERA with a 36.8% ground ball rate in 90 2/3 innings for Pittsburgh last season while missing time with shoulder and hip problems. Karstens posted a 3.38 ERA with 5.3 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, and a 46.2% ground ball rate in 162 2/3 innings in 2011.
The Rockies have been on the hunt for pitching this offseason after their staff produced an MLB-worst 5.22 ERA in 2012. So far this offseason they've re-signed Jeff Francis while trading for Wilton Lopez, though they've been connected to a number of free agents as well. Francis, Drew Pomeranz, Christian Friedrich, Jhoulys Chacin, Tyler Chatwood, and Juan Nicasio represent Colorado's returning starters.
Five teams have contacted Derek Lowe according to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe, and all five have expressed interest in signing him as a swingman. The veteran right-hander is looking for an opportunity to start, however.
“I’ve heard the same thing from everyone,” said Lowe. “I want to be a starter and feel I have a lot left in being a regular starter in a rotation and making my 30-plus starts. I can still do that. It’s frustrating to see other starters who have come off injuries get a shot, and I’ve never been hurt and can still help a team. I’m sure things will get going for me in January. I want to pitch. I’m nowhere near ready to retire.”
Lowe, 39, pitched to a 5.11 ERA with his typically high ground ball rate (59.2%) in 142 2/3 innings for the Indians and Yankees last season. He was much more effective in a relief role with New York (3.04 ERA in 23 2/3 innings) after signing in August. Prior to 2012, Lowe had made at least 30 starts and thrown at least 180 innings in ten straight seasons.
The Red Sox will interview Rick Peterson for their pitching coach job, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (via Twitter). The Orioles granted Boston permission to interview Peterson, who is currently Baltimore's director of pitching development and is a former pitching coach with the A's, Mets and Brewers.
Here's the latest from around the AL East…
- No teams have yet contacted the Yankees about a possible Alex Rodriguez trade, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
- The Orioles have scouted Japanese right-hander Shohei Otani, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, confirming an earlier report from Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News that the O's had interest in the 18-year-old prospect. Since Otani has already been drafted (though not signed) by the NPL's Nippon Ham Fighters, Connolly suspects the O's might not make any quick attempts to sign Otani given the Orioles' issues last season in trying to sign Korean southpaw Seong-Min Kim.
- Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton are both too expensive for the Orioles' taste, writes MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko in an analysis of free agents who won't be pursued by the O's this winter. The team doesn't have interest in free agent pitchers Derek Lowe, Jeremy Guthrie, Edwin Jackson or Erik Bedard, while Kevin Youkilis is a longshot based on Baltimore's concerns about his health.
- James Loney has a less than 50-50 chance of returning to the Red Sox, reports MLB.com's Evan Drellich, though the Sox see Loney as a "Plan B" if they're still looking for first base help later in the offseason.
- The Rays have been denied permission by St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster to explore new stadium sites in nearby counties in Tampa Bay, reports Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune. The Rays' lease at Tropicana Field runs through the 2027 season.
- Mariano Rivera's retirement could help the Yankees avoid a tough decision with the closer's job, opines Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York. If Rivera retired, the Yankees could then pursue a new contract with Rafael Soriano without worrying about committing too much payroll space on closers.
- From earlier today, Joel Sherman of the New York Post had more items about the Yankees.
John Farrell has officially joined the Red Sox after many months of intense speculation. Here are some links, starting in Boston with Farrell’s new team…
- Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo is a strong candidate to join Farrell with the Red Sox, perhaps as the team's bench coach, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports. We heard lots about the possibilities for Lovullo yesterday.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman acknowledged that Alex Rodriguez is not a superstar, but said he's still an "above-average" player, Peter Botte of the New York Daily News reports. The GM repeated that a deal involving Rodriguez seems "unrealistic." The 37-year-old has five years and $114MM remaining on a contract that includes no-trade protection.
- Derek Lowe, who pitched out of the bullpen for the Yankees down the stretch, says he would like to start again in 2013, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Lowe hits free agency this offseason and probably won't interest the Yankees as a starter in the estimation of Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues.
- Andruw Jones, who also hits free agency this offseason, said he intends to play for four more years, according to King.
The Yankees are fighting to finish the season atop the American League East as the Orioles' strong play has put them neck-and-neck with the Bombers. Here's a look at the latest on the Yankees as they take on the Red Sox in Boston..
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post wouldn't be surprised to see the Yankees abandon their plan to get under the $189MM luxury tax threshold for 2014 if they wind up missing the playoffs. However, should that happen, Sherman suggests that the Bombers should stay the course as the four other largest payroll teams would all miss the playoffs if they started today. The Yankees invested $423.5MM in C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, and A.J. Burnett after missing the playoffs in 2008.
- Yankees pitcher Derek Lowe said he's not sure if he wants to go forward as a reliever next season, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. "I'll sort that out in the offseason," the 39-year-old said. Lowe had a 5.52 ERA with 3.1 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 21 starts for the Indians this season before being DFA'd on August 2nd. Back in August, agent Scott Boras admitted that contending clubs probably won't look at his client as a starter when he hits the open market.
- Andy Pettitte threw a four-inning, 55-pitch simulated game earlier today and insists that he's ready to return to action, writes David Waldstein of the New York Times. Despite the 40-year-old's confidence, the Yankees aren't yet convinced that he's ready to go.
The Yankees have more wins than any American League team thanks to the second-best offense in baseball and solid pitching. Here's the latest from the Bronx…
- The Yankees will almost certainly extend a one-year qualifying offer to Nick Swisher after the season, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Though the Yankees would love for Swisher to accept the offer, it’s more likely that the switch hitter will decline in search of a multiyear contract.
- Sherman wonders if the Yankees would consider keeping Swisher long-term. Though the Yankees are expected to retain Curtis Granderson and let Swisher leave as a free agent, they could change course and keep Swisher, who would likely be more affordable than Granderson.
- Agent Scott Boras acknowledged that contending teams won’t look to Derek Lowe as a starting pitcher this coming offseason. “Probably the only way, at this point of his career, to get on a good team this year and next year was as a reliever,” Boras told Sherman. The agent said his client should thrive in his new role. “Derek Lowe in the bullpen is a Lamborghini because he can do it all. He can pitch long, he can pitch in the seventh, eighth or ninth. This man is a Renaissance man.”
- Sherman wonders whether the Yankees will use David Phelps as trade bait, project him in the rotation, or rely on him as insurance for the rotation and the bullpen.
- Ichiro Suzuki is a prime-time player even if he’s in his decline phase, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes. Davidoff suggests it’s unlikely Ichiro will re-sign with the Yankees this coming offseason.
The Yankees (69-47) own the best record in the AL, but the Mets (55-61) grabbed some headlines yesterday by acquiring Kelly Shoppach from the Red Sox for a player to be named later. Here's the latest out of the Big Apple…
- Ken Davidoff of The New York Post says that the Shoppach acquisition is an encouraging pickup because it shows the Mets are willing to take on money at midseason, something they haven't done in recent years.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson isn't sure how much money he'll have to spend on his roster this offseason, reports Brian Costa of The Wall Street Journal. He said he also has yet to think about extending manager Terry Collins, who is under contract through next season.
- Davidoff reports that the Yankees preferred Derek Lowe to A.J. Burnett during the 2008-2009 offseason, but they had concerns about the sinkerballer's ground ball tendencies and their infield defense. New York signed Burnett back then, but traded him to the Pirates this offseason while adding Lowe this week.