- Brian Cashman told MLB.com's Bryan Hoch that he's "monitoring what the necessary requests are, financially or player wise. If some drop, then maybe we'll get a little more serious [about making a move]." Earlier tonight we heard that the Yankees were interested in Jeremy Bonderman.
- The Orioles would still like to add a left-handed reliever, according to MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli (all Twitter links). Will Ohman is an option, but not the leading option or the only one, according to Ghiroli.
- The Orioles would like to add a veteran starter and the feeling in the front office is that a trade is more likely than a free agent signing. Kenshin Kawakami and Joe Blanton come to mind as possible trade targets, but that's just my speculation.
- Dirk Hayhurst will not be back in the Blue Jays organization next year, the pitcher (and best-selling author) announced on his blog.
- The Yankees will consider Andruw Jones, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (Twitter link). He bats right-handed and can play all three outfield positions, so he could provide the Yankees with some pop as a fourth outfielder and spell Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner.
- Heyman suggests the Yankees will go for a lockdown bullpen with Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera if Andy Pettitte retires (Twitter link). Click here for more Yankees rumors.
- Carl Crawford's trainer explained the left fielder's offseason workout program to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.
The Orioles have "definite interest" in free agent reliever Grant Balfour, according to MASN's Roch Kubatko. Kubatko notes that signing the Type A-designated Balfour would require the Orioles to hand over their second-round pick to the Rays. A year ago, the Orioles were willing to give up the 53rd overall pick to sign Mike Gonzalez. This pick would be later in the draft.
Other former Balfour suitors such as the Red Sox and Rockies have filled bullpen needs, so the Orioles have some leverage. The O's still have lingering interest in Kevin Gregg, a situation that's starting to drag. Kubatko says they'd also like to sign a lefty reliever, and "the door still hasn't closed" on Mark Hendrickson and Will Ohman.
The latest on the Mets as the third day of the Winter Meetings wraps up…
- Mets right-hander Elvin Ramirez is widely expected to be the first pick in the Rule 5 draft, reports ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). The 23-year-old posted a 4.16 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 5.5 BB/9 in 80 innings at Double-A and Single-A. He has been clocked at 94-98 mph this winter.
- The Mets met with agent Dan Horwits of Beverly Hills Sports Council today, since he represents lefties Will Ohman, Arthur Rhodes and Brian Fuentes, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Rhodes is talking with the Reds, but the sides aren't particularly close to an agreement.
- The Mets are interested in Hideki Okajima, according to comments made by Kevin Burkhardt of SNY and passed along by Michael Baron of MetsBlog.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson told Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger that the team will likely leave the meetings without having added a starting pitcher. The Mets have been linked to Chris Young, Jeff Francis and others.
Some items to wrap up the week…
- The Pirates were close to a trade for J.J. Hardy on Thursday night, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Pittsburgh is known to have an interest in Hardy and could still work out a deal given that the Twins tendered Hardy a contract.
- There is "mutual interest" between Nick Punto and the Indians, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. (Twitter link) The two sides will continue their talks during the winter meetings.
- Yahoo Sports' Big League Stew blog collects some of the Washington media's reaction to Adam Dunn leaving town, and it isn't very positive.
- It's looking increasingly unlikely that Arizona will trade Justin Upton, but if Upton is moved, it won't be to Florida, writes Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Rodriguez says the Marlins are looking for a left-handed bench bat and possibly a left-handed reliever, though the club is unlikely to re-sign Will Ohman.
- Phillies assistant GM Scott Proefrock tells Fox Sports Radio's Jim Bowden (Twitter link) that his club isn't interested in bringing back Cliff Lee. "That ship has sailed," Proefrock said.
- Erik Bedard tells Larry Larue of the Tacoma News Tribune that he was offered a guaranteed deal from another club but turned it down to sign a non-guaranteed contract with Seattle.
- The Mariners "are becoming a West Coast version of the Orioles, a place top-tier free agents avoid because the stench of losing is overwhelming," writes Yahoo's Steve Henson in his winter meetings preview.
Trevor Hoffman told MLB.com’s Barry Bloom that he wants to test free agency before deciding whether to play in 2011. If he sees an offer he likes, the 43-year-old could return for a 19th season. If not, the all-time saves leader says he’s prepared to retire.
Hoffman has drawn preliminary interest from a number of teams, according to his agent. Rick Thurman, who also represents free agents Brian Fuentes, Arthur Rhodes, Will Ohman, Octavio Dotel and Chan Ho Park, spoke with the D’Backs last Friday about potential fits for their bullpen.
That’s one possible destination for Hoffman, who can envision playing in Arizona under Kevin Towers, the D’Backs GM who ran the Padres when Hoffman pitched in San Diego. Towers repeated that re-building the bullpen is a priority for the D’Backs this offseason, but Hoffman isn't sure how much interest he'll draw.
"I'm coming off a tough year,” Hoffman told MLB.com. “I don't know if people are going to be turned off by that or not. I hope the strong second half I had will compensate."
Hoffman won’t find many closing jobs available outside of Arizona, but there are many potential closers available, as MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes pointed out yesterday. Though he started slowly, Hoffman recovered to pitch considerably better after early May. ESPN.com’s Keith Law warned interested teams about the risks associated with Hoffman earlier today. However, Towers told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that "you'd be nuts if you didn't at least consider somebody like Trevor Hoffman" (Twitter link).
The Heat and the Dolphins may be dominating the headlines in Miami at this time of year, but there's some news out of the Marlins camp as well.
- If Miguel Olivo's option is declined by Colorado, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro thinks Olivo could be a good fit behind the plate for the Marlins. We know the Fish are looking for a catcher this winter, and Olivo is a known quantity who played for the club in 2006 and 2007.
- Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com thinks that by extending Edwin Rodriguez's contract just through 2011, the team is "only treading water until they move into their new ballpark in 2012."
- The Marlins are focusing on an extension for Dan Uggla before they return to negotiations with Ricky Nolasco on a long-term deal, reports Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
- Larry Beinfest tells Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post that relief pitching will be a priority for Florida in the offseason. “In terms of addressing the bullpen, we’ve kind of opened up ourselves to every avenue, whether it be free agency, keeping one of our own free agents or looking elsewhere. We are cultivating trades,” Beinfest said.
- Beinfest also tells Capozzi that it's "possible" the Marlins will look into bringing back free agents Will Ohman, Jorge Sosa and Chad Tracy.
Teams are perpetually searching for effective left-handed relievers, so here are five southpaws who could become useful pieces at a bargain price next year. Some of the pitchers below are inching closer to 40, but Arthur Rhodes and Darren Oliver proved this year that there's no age limit for lefty specialists. The list focuses on pitchers who will likely sign for a couple million dollars at most, so I haven't included Hisanori Takahashi, Scott Downs and others:
- Randy Choate – The 35-year-old hits the open market as your prototypical 'left-handed one out guy.' He made 85 appearances in 2010, but logged just 44.3 innings. His numbers are strong (8.1 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 4.23 ERA) and suggest he could play anywhere, but teams that play in homer-friendly parks such as the D'Backs, Rockies and Brewers may take note of Choate's ability to keep the ball on the ground. His 60% ground ball rate ranked 15th among big league relievers with at least 20 innings.
- Will Ohman – Ohman, 33, recovered from a poor 2009 season and posted a 3.21 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 between the O's and Marlins. He's going to walk hitters, but he can still get lefties out.
- Ron Mahay – Mahay turns 40 in June, but that didn't stop him from posting a 3.44 ERA this year and striking out three times as many batters as he walked. He's not in position to demand a multi-year deal, but he could help someone's bullpen in 2011.
- Taylor Tankersley – The 27-year-old is the least predictable of the options listed, but possibly the most intriguing. Tankersley, a former first rounder, has struck out nearly a batter per inning in his big league career and has held lefties to a .223/.313/.372 line. There are drawbacks – he missed the 2009 season with a stress fracture in his pitching elbow and has trouble against righties – but Tankersley would be a good fit for the Pirates, Mets or Mariners at the right price. Why those clubs? As a fly ball pitcher, he probably fits best in a park that limits home runs and as an unproven pitcher, he fits best on a non-contender. That makes Pittsburgh, New York and Seattle potential fits.
- Brian Tallet – Unlike the pitchers above, Tallet won't necessarily hit the free agent market, but the 33-year-old is a non-tender candidate so he may be available by early December. Tallet, another fly ball pitcher, limited lefties to a stellar .176/.228/.343 line this year with a 28/6 K/BB ratio.
Dennys Reyes' 2010 numbers look OK, but don't let that 3.55 ERA fool you. Reyes posted a 0.54 ERA through May and a 5.91 ERA afterwards. He can induce grounders, but he walks more than one batter per two innings pitched.
Links for Sunday, as a handful of players suit up for new teams….
- Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth are happy to be playing meaningful games with the Braves, writes Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
- Will Ohman had a hunch that he would be moved before the deadline, writes MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.
- The Tigers have yet to make a blockbuster deadline deal under GM Dave Dombrowski, writes Steve Kornacki of MLive.com.
- Jim Callis of Baseball America (via Twitter) thinks it's very likely that the Mets will sign their first round selection, pitcher Matt Harvey. However, Callis doesn't feel that the pitcher is worth going over slot for.
- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban could be putting himself in position to buy the Rangers, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
- Cristian Guzman initially vetoed a deal to the Rangers, but changed his mind, according to Anthony Andro of the Dallas Morning News. MASN's Ben Goessling notes that the Nationals will pay for the rest of Guzman's salary this year (approximately $2.78MM), but will also receive $1.1MM from the Rangers.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney looks back on the deadline deals in his latest Insider-only blog, writing that "what in the world was Washington thinking?" was a question frequently asked by frustrated rival executives.
- The Boston Globe's Amalie Benjamin says that the price of bullpen help was too steep for the Red Sox, who made "competitive offers" on Scott Downs, Brandon League, and Brian Fuentes.
- Daniel Paulling of the Kansas City Star reports that Gil Meche won't have season-ending surgery after all, since doctors told the right-hander it would have kept him out of action in 2011 as well.
- The Brewers were never close to making any trades, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Ohman, 33 in August, has a 3.30 ERA, 8.7 K/9, and 5.4 BB/9 in 30 innings this year with three home runs allowed. He came a long way since signing a minor league deal in February, even spending a few days as the Orioles' closer. He hasn't displayed any special ability to retire lefties since the '08 season.
Vanden Hurk seems an acceptable return for two months of Ohman. This year at Triple A he posted a 4.68 ERA, 8.0 K/9, and 3.7 BB/9 in 98 innings, allowing 11 home runs. He's had multiple stints at that level and also has 155.6 big league innings under his belt. Strikeouts have been there, but everything else has been an issue (including health). Baseball America ranked Vanden Hurk 13th among Marlins prospects before the '07 season, noting that he was signed at 17 out of the team's Dutch academy. Did you know the Marlins had a Dutch academy? BA described Vanden Hurk as "smart and coachable."
Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun first tweeted that Ohman was traded, and Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel tweeted that Vanden Hurk was the return.
A home for today's random Twitter rumors…
- The Red Sox might not activate Mike Lowell today because they're trying to trade him, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
- The Marlins are getting tons of calls on Cody Ross but aren't inclined to move him, tweets Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Marlins are wavering on their stance not to deal Ross, and the Braves are making a push.
- The Sox made a run at the Cubs' Sean Marshall and were shot down, tweets ESPN's Jayson Stark. Marshall is having a dominant year out of the Cubs' pen.
- Though the Giants have inquired on Orioles lefty Will Ohman, a deal is unlikely according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Action has been light on Octavio Dotel so far, tweets Morosi.
- The Diamondbacks aren't sure about trading Aaron Heilman, reports Ken Rosenthal, but could move Chad Qualls and Adam LaRoche. SI's Jon Heyman says the D'Backs have gotten nibbles on Qualls but nothing is close yet.
- The Indians are getting "significant hits" on Jake Westbrook, says ESPN's Buster Olney. The Cardinals and Yankees have checked in, reports Stark.