- A Mets insider told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that the team will likely spend on one outfielder. It’s even too early to rule out a return for Angel Pagan, not that a reunion seems likely. Ryan Ludwick and Cody Ross are among the right-handed hitting free agent outfielders who could draw interest from the Mets, Rubin writes.
- The Mets have also made a list of backup catchers they might target, according to Rubin. Nationals catcher Jesus Flores, a non-tender candidate with a projected salary of $1.2MM, is among the catchers on the team’s list.
- The Mets will likely address their needs via free agency, team insiders told Rubin.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post heard that it was “vital” that Wright’s contract with the Mets surpass Johan Santana’s $137.5MM contract in terms of total value (Twitter link). Wright's eight-year deal will pay him $138MM in total.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs applauds the Mets for not giving up on the team in the short term.
With B.J. Upton now a Brave and Denard Span now a National, the Reds' outfield/leadoff hitter options are thinning out, writes MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. The Reds tried to acquire Span from the Twins at last year's trade deadline, though Sheldon hadn't heard anything about the Reds continuing their pursuit for Span this winter. Sheldon believes Michael Bourn and Angel Pagan are too expensive for the Reds and Shane Victorino may be as well, though Cincinnati is one of at least seven teams who have shown interest in Victorino's services.
Here are some more items about of the Queen City…
- In a separate piece from Sheldon, the Reds' recent history of locking up young players before free agency makes Mat Latos and Homer Bailey seem like extension candidates this winter. In his recent look at Cincinnati's arb-eligible players, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noted that Bailey's injury history may keep the Reds from pursuing a multiyear deal with the righty, while Latos could receive a five-year, $60MM extension, though predicting a new Latos deal is difficult due to a lack of comparables.
- Dustin Bledsoe, Latos' agent, tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that the Reds have yet to approach his client about an extension.
- Also from Fay, he hears from agent Dan Horwits that the Reds have "been in contact" with his client Ryan Ludwick about a possible return to Cincinnati. "There’s interest on both sides. Hopefully, we can [get] something done. We’re talking to other clubs. He has offers from other clubs,” Horwits said.
Power-hitting corner outfielders are always in demand, but not every team has the pockets deep enough to make a run at Josh Hamilton or even Nick Swisher. The lower price tag on more affordable names like Ryan Ludwick and Cody Ross leads to plenty of interest from teams looking for a boost in the outfield.
Ludwick, 34, produced a robust .275/.346/.531 triple slash line with 26 homers in 2012 — his first season with the Reds. While he was better at home in his hitter-friendly ballpark and against left-handed pitching, Ludwick managed to crack an .850 OPS both on the road and against right-handed pitching. In short, he hit regardless of the situation he was in. However, he totaled his fewest plate appearances since 2008 and provided negative value on defense according to UZR. He'll also turn 35 next July.
Ross won't turn 32 until December, and he enjoyed a strong season in his own right. He hit .267/.326/.481 with 22 home runs in 2012 — also his first season with a new team (the Red Sox). Ross carried a noticeable home-road split (.921 home OPS; .684 away) and a significant left-right split as well (1.010 OPS vs. lefties; .729 vs. righties). Ross, however, appeared at all three outfield positions for the Red Sox and graded out strongly in right field according to UZR/150 (+6.3 runs).
Each has likely positioned himself for a multiyear deal. And, while each is drawing interest from his former club, other teams around the league surely are considering the services of both Ludwick and Ross.
Today is the 63rd anniversary of Jackie Robinson becoming the first African-American player to win the MVP Award. This would be the only such honor during Robinson's Hall of Fame career. Here's the latest news from the Senior Circuit:
- Negotiations between the Nationals and Adam LaRoche are going slowly, a source tells MLB.com's Bill Ladson. The source also says LaRoche's top priority is to return to the Nationals, but the free agent first baseman is thinking about his two children, which is why he wants a three-year deal and has talked with several teams.
- A five-year, $75MM contract might be accurate for B.J. Upton but expect Michael Bourn to seek more, tweets Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- Despite the declining influence of home runs to change a game, as typified by the Giants winning the World Series after slugging the fewest home runs in baseball, the Phillies still need a power surge in 2013, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Bob Brookover.
- Centerfield is one position where the Phillies could seek to boost their power output. ESPN's Buster Olney breaks down their various centerfield options in his latest Insiders-only blog.
- John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer sees the Reds' 2013 payroll being $92MM, but a team insider tells him the actual number could start with an eight. This would make it difficult, in Fay's opinion, to do anything in free agency except sign a closer or re-sign Ryan Ludwick.
- Within the same piece, GM Walt Jocketty says he will wait until after Thanksgiving to speak with Scott Rolen, who is contemplating retirement.
- The Cardinals' needs are simple for 2013, writes Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The team needs to reinforce a thin bench by adding some right-handed power and find a fourth outfielder who can generate some offense. Miklasz adds the health of shortstop Rafael Furcal is also a significant question.
- Blessed with the deepest of pockets, the Dodgers' desire to pursue an elite starting pitcher reveals myriad ways the team can approach the process, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. Common sense, however, may still prevail at Chavez Ravine as Dodgers controlling partner Mark Walter once eloquently stated, "Pitchers break."
Daniel Seco contributed to this post.
Reds GM Walt Jocketty spoke to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer about some of the free agent names connected to his club this winter…
- The Reds' first priority is trying to find a leadoff hitter, though Jocketty said that Michael Bourn is too expensive for his club and the same could be true about Angel Pagan. Jocketty said that the team hasn't contacted Pagan yet and "not that we wouldn’t but I wonder about the money.”
- Jocketty confirmed that the Reds have talked to Jonathan Broxton and Ryan Madson about returning to Cincinnati, while the team has also spoke to free agent Joakim Soria. Broxton is the only one of the trio who would be able to pitch on Opening Day, as Madson and Soria are both recovering from Tommy John surgery. The Reds are likely one of the eight contenders who Soria's agent, Oscar Suarez, says has shown interest in his client.
- The Reds talked to Torii Hunter's agent "but the money was too much," Jocketty said. The general manager doubted that Hunter's two-year, $26MM contract with the Tigers would impact Ryan Ludwick's price since "they're different kind(s) of players." The Reds have had "preliminary" talks with Ludwick about a new deal.
- Jocketty told FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi last week that the Reds could deal one of their shortstops (Zack Cozart and Didi Gregorius) if the right deal came along, but Jocketty said that neither player is being shopped. "We’re not taking offers,” Jocketty said. “That gets out and then we have to call Cozart and call Didi.”
- The Reds have no plans to extend Jay Bruce's contract. "We control him for five more years,” Jocketty said. “It’s so far off. It’s something we haven’t talked about.” Matt Sosnick, Bruce's agent, raised the possibility of an extension beyond 2016 for his client earlier today.
It’s no secret that Reds GM Walt Jocketty intends to upgrade the Cincinnati outfield this offseason. Jocketty addressed his search for outfield help and other Reds-related questions in a conversation with MLBTR at the GM Meetings in Indian Wells, California. Here are the details.
- Jocketty said the Reds hope to re-sign Ryan Ludwick this winter. “We’ve made some progress, but it’ll probably take another week or two before we know where we’re at,” the GM said. “
- Ideally the Reds would like to add a leadoff hitter. Whether the newcomer plays center or left field has yet to be determined.
- The Reds view Aroldis Chapman as a starting pitcher long-term and they could make him a starter in 2013 if they acquire a free agent reliever. “If we re-sign Ryan Madson or [Jonathan] Broxton or someone else it would allow us to move Chapman to the rotation,” Jocketty said. Pitching coach Bryan Price feels strongly that Chapman can become a top of the rotation starter.
- Signing Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips in the spring helped the Reds focus on other needs this offseason, the GM said. “That was important for us to do, for sure.”
- Royals GM Dayton Moore says the team is "not done" following the Santana pickup, reports Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star (on Twitter). The club figures to continue seeking upgrades for their rotation.
- The Reds and Ryan Ludwick continue to talk after the outfielder declined his half of a mutual option, reports John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer (on Twitter). GM Walt Jocketty said the club is unlikely to offer more than two years, however.
- Jocketty also told Fay that the Reds have interest in retaining free agents Ryan Madson, Jonathan Broxton, and Dioner Navarro (Twitter link). "I don't know if we'll sign them all," added Jocketty.
- "We remain open to it," said Indians GM Chris Antonetti when asked about re-signing Travis Hafner, reports MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. Cleveland declined the slugger's option earlier today but seem poised to go in a different direction at DH.
Ryan Ludwick declined his side of the mutual option on his contract, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). As expected, the Beverly Hills Sports Council client will become a free agent. Ludwick's contract included a $5MM mutual option with a $500K buyout.
Ludwick will pursue a multiyear deal after hitting 26 home runs and posting a .275/.346/.531 batting line in 472 plate appearances with Cincinnati this past season. The Reds need outfielders and will consider working out a new deal with Ludwick. Both sides are “very interested” in discussing another contract, Heyman reported two weeks ago.
As the Cardinals continue to battle the Giants in the NLCS, here's the latest from the NL Central…
- The Reds probably won't be able to afford Ryan Ludwick if he insists on "market value" for veteran corner outfielders, writes John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. That's probably true if Ludwick looks for the deals that Josh Willingham, Jason Kubel or Michael Cuddyer (Fay's comparables) received last winter, but Willingham and Cuddyer were the oldest of the trio, going into their age-33 seasons. Ludwick turns 35 in July, so a three-year deal seems far-fetched to me.
- The Brewers announced they have purchased the contract of right-hander Jesus Sanchez and added him to their 40-man roster. The 25-year-old Sanchez posted a combined 1.63 ERA in 52 relief appearances at the Double-A and Triple-A levels last season, plus a 2.91 K/BB ratio and 64 strikeouts in 71 2/3 innings.
- The Astros won't have their coaching staff finalized for a week or two, GM Jeff Luhnow told reporters, including MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. Only one or two members of the current Astros' staff is under consideration to return under new manager Bo Porter. Bench coach Joe Pettini will not be back, reports McTaggart (Twitter link).
Outfielder Ryan Ludwick will turn down his side of the $5MM mutual option on his contract with the Reds, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. However, the Reds will discuss a new deal with Ludwick in the hopes of keeping him in Cincinnati. Both sides are “very interested” and Ludwick would like a multiyear deal, Heyman reports.
Ludwick, 34, just completed his best season in years. He hit 26 home runs and posted a .275/.346/.531 batting line in 472 plate appearances as the Reds' left fielder. The one-year contract he signed with Cincinnati in February includes a $5MM mutual option for 2013 ($500K buyout).