Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cubs Trade DeRosa to Indians

The Cubs have traded second baseman Mark DeRosa to the Indians for minor league pitchers Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer, and John Caub, the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting. The Indians would like to play DeRosa at third base, which should be no problem considering he played six positions for the Cubs last season, including 22 games at third. DeRosa hit .285 with 21 HR and .376 OBP in 149 games for the Cubs last season, and scored 103 runs. 

Here is a look at who the Cubs acquired:

Jeff Stevens, 25: went 5-1 with a 2.52 ERA in 17 games at Double-A before going 0-3 in Triple-A in 19 games. He is strikeout pitcher, striking out 81 over the course of 2008.

Chris Archer, 20: Went 4-8 with a 4.29 ERA in Single-A last season.

John Caub, 23: Went 1-1 with a 3.38 ER in Single-A last season. Control is problem, but has the makings of an excellent reliever.

It will be interesting to see if the Cubs keep these players or move them in a trade for Jake Peavy, or another top of the line pitcher.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Angels Sign Fuentes

The Angels and Brian Fuentes have agreed to a two year deal, angelsbaseball.com is reporting. The deal includes a club option for 2011. Fuentes posted a 2.73 ERA with 30 SV last season for the Rockies, and is a three time All-Star. Although they didn't necessarily need a closer, bringing in an established one means they can keep Jose Arredondo where he was last year, where he was a huge asset to the teams bullpen. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Cubs Sign Miles

The Cubs and Aaron Miles have agreed to a two year contract worth 4.9 million dollars, according to cubs.com. Miles hit .317 with 4 HR and .355 OBP in 134 games for the Cardinals last season, and is a switch hitter. He hit .350 in 80 at-bats in situations deemed "close and late, " something the Cubs must have liked. Miles gives the Cubs solid depth off the bench, but you have to wonder why they would bring Miles in when they already have Mike Fontenot, especially on a two year deal. This suggest one thing to me: The Cubs are gearing up for another run at Jake Peavy. 

By trading Marquis, you open up payroll to sign Milton Bradley, which sources have told me is "inevitable." With Fontenot and Miles at second, the Cubs can trade Mark DeRosa to the Phillies or Twins for the top pitching prospect they need to send to the Padres, along with Josh Vitters and two other Cubs prospects, for Peavy. They also signed Joey Gathright, meaning Felix Pie could be on his way out as well. It seems far-fetched, but the rival executives got the impression from Cubs officials that they were "determined" to land Peavy.

However, the Cubs lost a couple solid bench players and could view the Miles signing as a retooling of the bench. Miles is a career .289 hitter in 643 major league games.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Dodgers Sign Vargas

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the Dodgers have agreed to a one year, incentive laden deal with pitcher Claudio Vargas. Vargas, who went 3-2 with a 4.62 ERA last season, gives the Dodgers depth in their depleted rotation. The Dodgers are trying to add another veteran starter, but could pursue other guys like Vargas, perhaps Mark Mulder. The Dodgers might also go after Andy Pettitte, or maybe even Ben Sheets, to anchor their young rotation. 

Vargas is currently 3-1 with a 4.02 ERA in six starts in the D.R. Winter Leagues.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Jays Sign Maroth

The Blue Jays and Mike Maroth have agreed to a minor league deal, SI.com is reporting. Maroth is recovering from shoulder surgery, and will probably have to prove himself in Triple-A before getting a chance to pitch in the MLB again. He has a career 5.05 ERA, but the Blue Jays have had success working with correcting pitchers poor tendencies, so there is still a possibility he could be a decent back end starter or reliever. He'll probably be a non-issue in 2009. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Diamondbacks Extend Snyder

The Diamondbacks and catcher Chris Snyder have agreed to a three year extension worth 14.5 million dollars. The deal, which includes a club option for 2012, will give up two years of free agency if the option is picked up. I received emails after the signing was made official saying that back up catcher Miguel Montero is probably on his way out, but that isn't exactly true. Montero saw improvement in his numbers from last season, and he continues that strong play in the Winter Leagues, hitting .302 with 8 HR and a .358 OBP in 149 at-bats. 

The Red Sox have expressed interest in Montero and if he continues to play well, the Diamondbacks might be able to land a solid prospect in return. However, Montero has been asked to play some third base, so the Diamondbacks might try to get him 200-at bats or so by playing him at third and catcher. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Turnbow Update

The Marlins, Pirates, Tigers are the finalist for free agent pitcher Derrick Turnbow. Turnbow has struggled over the past three seasons, but owns a career 4.30 ERA in 257 appearances, making some think a change of scenery is all he needs. Turnbow has had success in Dolphin Stadium, and may intrigued by the idea of playing out of the NL Central, which could hurt the Pirates' chances. The Tigers are also pursuing other options, and one executive said he would be "surprised" if the Tigers land Turnbow.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Dodgers Pursuing Garland, Wolf

According to Dodgers.com, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti would like to add a veteran starter and has targeted Jon Garland and Randy Wolf. On paper, the Dodgers have a lot of starters: Billingsley, Kuroda, Kershaw, Schmidt, Stults, and McDonald. However, Billingsley has a broken leg, Kuroda has tendonitis in his right shoulder, and Schmidt has only made six starts in the last two seasons. Both pitchers are going to come relatively cheap, probably between 8-10 million dollars annually. 

It is possible, if the Dodgers choose not to sign Ramirez, that they could sign both pitchers and still have money for Dunn or Abreu. The Cardinals are actively pursuing Wolf, so his price could shoot up if there is a bidding war.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rockies to Acquire Marquis

The Rockies and Cubs are working on a trade that would send Jason Marquis and cash to the Rockies for pitcher Luis Vizcaino. The Cubs are expected to include 5 million dollars in the deal, so the three million dollars now off the books can go towards landing an outfielder, perhaps Milton Bradley. Marquis, a sinker ball pitcher, is coming into a contract year and could find success in Colorado. As for Vizcaino, he is familiar with the NL Central and has a career 4.34 ERA, but owns a 6.61 ERA in 16 appearances at Wrigley Field. 

Trading Marquis opens up the fifth spot to Sean Marshall, or a free agent, or maybe even Jake Peavy. We'll see what happens...

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Red Sox Made Play For Marlins' Ramirez

According to SI.com, after learning that they missed out on free agent first baseman Mark Teixeira, the Red Sox asked the Marlins about the possibility of acquiring Hanley Ramirez. The Marlins were reportedly looking for a deal built around Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz, along with other top prospects, which they thought was too high of an asking price. The Red Sox planned to used Ramirez in center, while playing Lowrie and Lugo at shortstop. 

This action would suggest that the Red Sox would like to add a big bat, opening up an endless amount of possibilities for who they could go after. They could contact the Twins about Joe Mauer, but the Twins probably have no interest in moving him. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Blue Jays Sign Barrett

ESPN.com is reporting that the Blue Jays and Michael Barrett have come to terms on a minor league deal. Barrett has shown signs of power and an ability to hit for average, so this could turn out to be a good signing for them. They will likely use Barrett in a DH/catcher role, but it is possible they will try him in the field. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Dodgers Pursuing Dunn

ESPN.com's Jason Stark is reporting that the Dodgers have entered the mix for free agent outfielder Adam Dunn. Dunn, who has hit 40 homeruns for four seasons in a row, would give the Dodgers the power bat they need. The Dodgers finished fourteenth in the league in homeruns last season, even after Manny Ramirez joined their squad. Contacting Dunn could be a way to speed up the process with Manny Ramirez, but signing Dunn might leave them more money to pursue other options as well. 

The Cubs are believed to be Dunn's first choice, but the Cubs have yet to get serious with Dunn. The Mariners, Orioles, and Nationals are also interested. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Tigers Eye Beimel

The Tigers, still in the hunt for pitching, are hoping to lock up free agent pitcher Joe Beimel by the end of the week. According to a source with knowledge of the negotiations, Beimel is interested in signing with the Tigers, but his agent, Joe Scroba, is waiting on Brian Fuentes to sign, which could also take place within the next week or two. It seems like speculation at this point, by the Tigers have been patient in hopes that prices will continue to fall. With that said, the Tigers might pursue both Joe Beimel and Juan Cruz in hopes of fortifying the bullpen, who blew 28 games.  

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Orioles Sign Hendrickson

The Orioles and Mark Hendrickson have come to terms on a one year deal, according to the Baltimore Sun. The deal is pending a physical, which is set for next week. Hendrickson, who went 7-8 with a 5.45 ERA, compiled a 2.63 ERA in his final 14 appearances last season. While the Orioles will probably use him in the rotation, they may find out that his success is in the bullpen. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Red Sox Close In On Penny

Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Red Sox and Brad Penny are closing in on a one year deal. A lot of language still needs to be worked out, but Penny could take a physical in the next week or so. This is a solid move by the Red Sox, who bring in a cheap ace who could put up big numbers. Not only that, but it allows them to keep Clay Buchholz in the minors or spot starting with the Red Sox. 

If Penny, 29, can return to 2007 form, it is possible the Red Sox would be open to trading Daniel Bard, or perhaps Clay Buchholz. Buchholz could net them a potential All Star catcher in Jarrod Saltalamachhia, or a better prospect if he shows improvement. The Red Sox could probably lock up Penny, probably at a good price too if the economic crisis doesn't bottom out and turn around. However, if both find success, the Red Sox would likely move Penny for prospects and give Buchholz the everyday job. Ugh, it's not even January and I'm already speculating!

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Boras Trying To Sell Veteran Catchers

Agent Scott Boras is trying to sell veteran catchers Jason Varitek and Ivan Rodriguez, but is struggling to find a respectable offer. Both catchers have playoff experience, and have caught a World Series team, including a couple no-hitters. There is no doubt that these catchers know how to call a game, but their offense is what is holding them back. "The catching market is very interesting," Boras said, "teams are not going to say they are in the market for a catcher because they do not want to ruin the trade value of their current catcher." At this point, the Red Sox are the only known team in talks with Boras about Varitek. The Red Sox are trying to work a trade for Jarrod Saltalamachhia or Miguel Montero, but might need to wait till Spring Training before the price comes down. Of the remaining catchers on the market, Michael Barrett is the best bet if you are looking for offense.

A good catcher is hard to find, especially during the past couple years. They are rare, and teams have no interest in giving up unless they are overwhelmed with an offer. With that said, teams view the value of catchers completely differently, at least not the way Boras views it: "The catcher position is experienced based." The Orioles like Ivan Rodriguez, but view him as a back up to Matt Wieters, their top prospect. The Marlins also like Rodriguez, but only if his price comes down significantly. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Quick Hits

Quick Hits:
  • The Cubs are reportedly considering bringing in two Japanese pitchers to compete for a spot in the bullpen. The pitchers, Ken Kadokura and lefty Shigeki Noguchi, both were released by the Yomiuri Giants after the 2008 season. Both pitchers had success in Japan, and could find some success as a middle reliever with the Cubs. Not only that, but they could make Kosuke Fukudome feel a little more comfortable in the clubhouse.
  • Free agent pitcher Brad Penny is reportedly coming to close to signing with a team. Penny was the NL starter in the All-Star Game in 2006, but struggled to stay healthy in 2008. The Cardinals and Red Sox are his most likely landing spots.
  • The Rangers have yet to make an offer to Ben Sheets, the Dallas Morning News is reporting. Sources informed me that the Sheets race will likely heat up after Derek Lowe is signed. The market is reportedly bigger than originally thought, with at least 10 teams looking into signing him. 
  • The A's have inquired about free agent outfielder Garrett Anderson.
  • The Orioles are looking at Michael Barrett and Greg Zaun.
  • Eric Hinske is drawing interest from the Pirates, according to sources.
This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Reds Sign Taveras

The Reds and Wily Taveras have agreed to a two year deal, making him their new center fielder. Taveras, 27, stole 68 bases for the Rockies last season, but only hit .251 with 1 HR. However, he is a career .283 hitter in five major league seasons. If Taveras can get on base and steal his way into scoring position, he will create great opportunities for their big hitters to drive him in and put themselves in a position to score runs as well. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

A's Targeting Abreu

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the Athletics and Bobby Abreu have begun preliminary discussions. Abreu, who hit .296 with 20 HR in 156 games for the Yankees, is also drawing varying degrees of interest from the Cubs, Mets, and Angels. The A's hope to sign Jason Giambi, but won't back down from his demands for a three year deal. Talking with Abreu could be a ploy to pressure Giambi to stepping back from his demands, but the A's have had interest in Abreu all offseason. They like his consistency at the plate, his solid defense, and willingness to steal bases. 

Talks are in their early stages, but could pick up if they find that Abreu is their only realistic option.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Giants Sign Johnson

The Giants have signed Randy Johnson to a one year deal. Johnson, who went 11-10 with a 3.91 ERA, will make for a good mentor for their young pitching staff. Assuming he can stay healthy, Johnson is good for at least 150 innings and 160 strikeouts. He has given up a lot of homeruns in recent years (24 in 2008), but a move to AT&T Park could keep those numbers low. It's good signing for the Giants, who bring in a solid veteran and future Hall of Famer. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

WIll The Red Sox Go After Pettitte?

The Red Sox have made it clear this offseason that they will explore any avenue that could make their team better. There were reports at the Winter Meetings that the Sox had interest in Andy Pettitte, but talks broke off when Pettitte started talking exclusively with the Yankees. Pettitte is reportedly holding out for 16 million dollars, but the Yankees are reportedly getting close to pulling their 10 million dollar offer off the table, which could allow the Red Sox to jump in and sign him at a relatively cheap price.

Pettitte, who went 14-14 with a 4.54 ERA with 158 strikeouts in 33 games, has a great postseason record and would be able to mentor some of their young pitchers. Not only that, but he is extremely familiar with the division and pitching at Fenway Park. Bringing him in for a one year deal can't hurt, especially if they can't land someone like Ben Sheets. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Top 15 Remaining Free Agents

1. Manny Ramirez, Dodgers
- Boras' asking price for Manny is too high, and teams don't want to offer a long term deal to someone known for giving up easily. Because he has held out so long, he might have to take a one year deal.

Prediction: Dodgers

2. Derek Lowe, Dodgers
Now that the Yankees have made it clear that they are done spending on the market, the Lowe sweepstakes are heating up. The Mets, Phillies, Red Sox, and maybe Braves are all in contention for the most durable pitcher in baseball. I'm surprised that the Brewers aren't making a run.

Prediction: Mets

3. Adam Dunn, Diamondbacks
- Dunn would make for a good DH, but his close ties to Nationals GM Jim Bowden make him a favorite to land in Washington. 

Prediction: Nationals

4. Pat Burrell, Phillies
- Burrell's power can't go unnoticed, but his average and proneness to bad slumps may hurt his chances for a long term deal. But if you can hit thirty homeruns, you are going to to have a job. 

Prediction: Rays

5. Ben Sheets, Brewers
- Sheets has been labeled as an injury prone pitcher, but has the potential to be an ace. His 3.09 ERA won't go unnoticed.

Prediction: Rangers

6. Orlando Hudson, Diamondbacks
Hudson is the top second baseman on the market, but teams are worried if he can stay healthy. The Mets desperately want him, but need to trade Luis Castillo to make that happen.

Prediction: Nationals

7. Brian Fuentes, Rockies
- Fuentes has made it clear he wants to play in Anaheim, so the Angels will likely try to get a hometown discount. They have two potential closers already, so they don't necessarily need Fuentes.

Prediction: Cardinals

8. Bobby Abreu, Yankees
- Abreu can hit 20 HR at a pretty good average, so teams will go after him. Not only that, but he has pretty good speed as well. A team might be able to sign him to a two year deal.

Prediction: Mets

9. Jason Giambi, Yankees
- The Giambi race is just starting to heat up, and it looks like it will come down to the Rays and A's. Giambi brings power to the table, and making him a full time DH could improve his numbers.

Prediction: Athletics

10. Oliver Perez, Mets
- The Mets are reportedly in talks with Perez, but are holding out until Perez offers something closer to the Mets' proposal. They know teams aren't going to blow away Perez with a big offer, so a return to the Mets at a good price makes sense.

Prediction: Mets

11. Milton Bradley, Rangers
- Bradley is still in talks with the Cubs; however, some think his agent is still shopping him around. Bradley is very injury prone, and a long term deal is a huge risk, even if the Cubs have a lot of depth. 

Prediction: Cubs

12. Randy Johnson, Diamondbacks
- Johnson has drawn interest from all over the league, but reportedly would like to stay on the West Coast near his family. With that said, the Athletics and Giants are probably his best options. 

Prediction: Giants

13. Orlando Cabrera, White Sox
- Since Rafael Furcal has signed, teams are finding ways to upgrade at the position without going to the free agent market. No team wants to sign Cabrera because they would have to surrender a draft pick. Cabrera is valuable, but not more valuable than a first round draft pick, especially during these times. If he is willing to come down from his asking price, he might find the that the Blue Jays are interested. 

Prediction: White Sox

14. Juan Cruz, Diamondbacks
-Cruz is an established set up man, but teams might be waiting for his price to fall before moving in. The Tigers, Royals, Brewers, and more are all interested in Cruz.

Prediction: Diamondbacks

15. Randy Wolf, Astros
- Wolf is coming off his best year in several seasons, but questions concerning his health are a problem. He will still get a good deal, eventually.

Prediction: Cardinals

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Padres Sign Correia

The Padres have signed free agent pitcher Kevin Correia to a minor league deal. Correia, who went 3-8 with a 6.05 ERA in 25 appearances (19 starts) for the Giants, is much better suited as a reliever compiling 3.47 ERA over 107 games (just 8 starts) between 2006-2007. Moving back to his hometown and playing in the same division could give the Padres a huge advantage in the bullpen. 

The Padres also signed Luis Rodriguez to a one year deal worth 675,000 dollars. Rodriguez hit .287 in 65 games for the Padres last season, and could start at second or short if the Padres don't find infield depth. Rodriguez has the potential to hit .280-.290, having proved that during his stint with the Padres. While this is a solid signing for the Padres, he probably won't have much of a significant impact.  

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Merry Christmas!

Hey everyone-

Just wanted to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas! As we close on 2008, I want to thank all of my readers for staying loyal and coming back everyday despite the confusion with the blogs location. Your support was able to send me to the Winter Meetings for the second time, as well as get back on the road to being one of the top sports blogs on the web.

Enjoy the rest of your holiday break,

Eli 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Rays Sign Nelson

The Miami Herald is reporting that the Rays have come to terms with free agent pitcher Joe Nelson on a one year deal worth 1.3 million dollars. Nelson, who was non-tendered by the Marlins, will not only give the Rays bullpen depth, but he will also take a lot of pressure off some of the young guys to produce coming off a big year. While Nelson had his best season with the Marlins, he is an experienced veteran. In 59 games for the Marlins last season, Nelson went 3-1 with a 2.00 ERA and 60 K.

The Indians and Marlins were also pursuing Nelson.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

News and Notes: Orioles Consider Dunn?

The Orioles failed to land their top free agent target, which altered their whole offseason agenda. They are currently negotiating with free agent pitchers Tim Redding, Braden Looper, Mark Hendrickson, and Japanese pitchers Kenshin Kawakami and Koji Uehara. They failed to sign Nick Markakis long term, as well as Brian Roberts, so bringing in a power hitter like Dunn would help their offense down the road, as well as show Roberts and Markakis that they are committed to winning.

Dunn's price, currently around 14 million dollars annually, is a bargain for some teams. Hitting forty homeruns last offseason would have landed him a 16-18 million dollar deal. Despite a low average, he does get on base and drive in runs. The Nationals are currently his top suitor, but we should know after the holiday break.

In other news...

Matsui to Angels?: The New York Post suggests the Angels as a possible suitor for Hideki Matsui. Matsui isn't great in the field, but he can still produce at the plate. If they didn't have to give up much in return, it wouldn't be the worst move, especially if they take on Brian Fuentes.

Red Sox still eye catcher: The Red Sox are still looking for a catcher, and have set their sights on Jarrod Saltalamachhia of Texas and Miguel Montero of Arizona. The Diamondbacks are closing in on an extension for Chris Snyder, so trading Montero now is a possibility.

Cardinals pursuing Perez?: The Cardinals remain interested in free agent pitchers Oliver Perez and Randy Wolf. Perez would be great for their rotation, but if they want to cooperate with Boras again is the other question.

Nationals talking with Hudson: The Nationals are very interested in second baseman Orlando Hudson.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mets Closing In On Lowe

According to Gordon Edes of Yahoo! Sports, the Mets are deep in negotiations with free agent pitcher Derek Lowe. Lowe, who was 14-11 with a 3.24 ERA in 34 games last season, also has an unbelievable postseason track record. I spoke with Omar Minaya down in Las Vegas and got the sense that pitching was a priority this offseason, both starters and relievers. They added two relievers, locking up the late innings and pushing back the guys who had pressure on them to close the late, important games. "Well, signing K-Rod and Putz will do exactly that," Minaya said when asked about the Mets' bullpen. "Guys like Sanchez, Pedro [Feliciano] will be able to work in roles they are comfortable with."

Adding Lowe, one of the most durable pitchers in baseball, will make for a great number two pitcher behind Johan Santana. This is a great move by the Mets.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

BREAKING NEWS: Yankees To Sign Teixeira

In an exciting turn of events, the Yankees are reportedly on the verge of signing free agent first baseman Mark Teixeira to an eight year deal worth 180 million dollars. Teixeira is also being pursued by the Nationals, Red Sox, and Orioles. The story was first reported by Jon Heyman of SI.com.

Teixeira, who hit .308 with 33 HR in and 121 RBIs last season, will also receive a full no trade clause. The Yankees remained quiet in negotiations, but were in constant communication with the Teixeira camp. "[Mark Teixeira] Tex is a great clubhouse guy," Torii Hunter told me last week in Las Vegas. Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez were teammates in Texas in 2003, so there shouldn't be too many problems in the Yankee clubhouse.

The signing pushes Nick Swisher back to the outfield, where he didn't have much success in 2007 with the White Sox. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Pirates After Andino

According to the Hot Stove Blog, the Pirates are still after Marlins second base prospect Robert Andino. Andino, once considered a Marlins top prospect, is out of options and will have a tough time making the roster. He has hit .201 in 144 at-bats with the Marlins over four abbreviated seasons, but hit .287 in 43 games in Triple-A last season. The Marlins are reportedly looking at Brian Bixler, a middle infielder who still has options. Bixler hit .157 for the Pirates last season, but is a .284 career hitter in 533 career minor league games. 

A trade involving Robert Andino looks imminent. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Quick Hits

Quick Hits:
  • The San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that the Dodgers and Padres are targeting catcher Brad Ausmus. The Padres have a lot of depth at catcher, but the Dodgers may add Ausmus as a veteran backup and legitimate clubhouse presence. 
  • The Twins are continuing their hunt for a third baseman, but may target third baseman Chone Figgins of the Angels. Figgins could be their leadoff hitter, and is very versatile. He could be moved around the field if young players like Brian Buscher come through or Denard Span needs more time in the minors. 
  • Free agent pitcher Kenny Rogers, 44, may be an option for the Braves or Marlins. 
  • Braves plan to pass on Ben Sheets and Derek Lowe, Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting. 
  • Kendry Morales will be the Angels first baseman in 2009, the LA Times says. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Seattle May Target Dunn, Burrell?

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, prices for outfielders are falling to the point where Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik may enter the market for a power hitting outfielder. Whether it is to play outfield or DH, the Mariners can be considered players in the outfield market. One agent, not associated with Adam Dunn, believes NL teams won't overpay for his services because he is a poor fielder. However, AL teams could use him as a DH, which is where most of his interest is coming from. If the Nationals miss out on Mark Teixeira though, their fallback target is believed to be Adam Dunn.

Dunn will hit at least forty homeruns for his next team, but may have to sign a one or two year deal the way the market is going. Poor fielding and a poor batting average hurt his chances for a long term deal, but that doesn't necessarily mean he won't receive a big pay day. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Cubs Waiting For Abreu?

One rival executive thinks the Cubs are playing the "waiting game," hoping the price will come down on free agent outfielder Bobby Abreu. Insiders believe the hold up with the Cubs deal is the amount of years Bradley wants despite how injury-prone he is. The Cubs are looking for a lefty power hitter who is above average defensively, and have targeted Abreu, Bradley, and Adam Dunn. Abreu has stated his interest in the Cubs, and the Cubs have had some contact with his agents, but his price was too steep at the time. 

The price for the top outfielders on the market is between 10-12 million dollars annually. According to sources, teams are waiting to see if the price will get to 8-9 million before getting serious. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Red Sox Set To Announce Teixeira Signing?

According to the Washington Times, there is an announcement set for today to discuss the future of Mark Teixeira. The specifics of the announcement are not known, but there indications that the Red Sox will announce that they have signed Teixeira to the eight year, 170 million dollar deal that they pulled off the table last week. The deal may have been renegotiated since their last offer, but it is clear to both sides that the 170-180 million dollars was all he was going to get.

The Nationals and Orioles are also involved in talks, with the Nationals upping their offer to eight years worth 178-185 million dollars.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

USA Struggling To Fill WBC Roster

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports has a great piece out on Team USA executives struggling to fill a roster and some of the reasons players opt to not participate. Check it out here!

Leave a comment below on why you choose to watch or not watch the WBC.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Would the Reds Trade Votto?

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Angels are moving on without Mark Teixeira. They plan to contact the agents of Bobby Abreu, Pat Burrell, and Adam Dunn before Major League offices close for Christmas and thru New Years. Not only that, but they pursue Reds 1B Joey Votto, who hit .297 with 24 HR in 154 games for the Reds last season. If the Angels traded one of their top pitching prospects with a major league ready position player, they could probably land him.

However, the Reds have the pitching and a couple solid players in their lineup to compete. Votto, Bruce, Phillips, and Encarnacion will all hit at least twenty homeruns and get on base. The Cubs are the early favorites to win the division, and trading Votto, who hit .333 with 8 HR vs. the Cubs last season, would not help their chances of beating the reigning division champ. Not only that, but they brought in an experienced catcher who has experience in working with young, developing pitchers, having spent the past three seasons in the Baltimore. Hernandez hit .283 in two seasons with the Padres, but fell to .263 with the Orioles. A move back to the NL could actually be a plus for Hernandez, who will be playing in the hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark. 

UPDATE: THE LA TIMES IS REPORTING THAT THE ANGELS WILL GO WITH KENDRY MORALES AT 1B IN 2009.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Monday Recap

Sorry for the delay on posts everyone, I was traveling all day yesterday with my family and the airline lost our bags. Talk about a poor start to a vacation:
  • David Wright, Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, and Mark DeRosa all accepted WBC Team USA invites, joining Grady Sizemore and Ryan Braun on the team thus far.
  • The Yankees and Chien-Ming Wang have agreed to a one year deal worth five million dollars. Wang went 8-2 with a 4.07 ERA, and if he can prove that he can stay healthy, he will probably get a long term deal next offseason. Wang, who isn't eligible for free agency until 2011, is 54-20 with a 3.79 ERA in 97 appearances (95 starts). 
  • MLB.com is reporting that the Nationals have upped their offer to Mark Teixeira. The deal, which reportedly holds options that could take it to ten years, is worth somewhere betweeen 178-184 million dollars for eight years. It's risky, but signing Teixeira bodes well for future negotiations, not to mention a leader in their young clubhouse. Many, including myself, expect Boras to go back to the Angels or Red Sox to get a deal done.
This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Angels Withdraw Offer To Teixeira

The Angels are backing out of the Mark Teixeira races, Yahoo! Sports is reporting. The Angels became the second team in recent days to step out of the Mark Teixeira races, joining the Red Sox who found his price too steep. The Angels and Red Sox, who found his price to steep, are pressuring Boras to work out a deal with the Nationals or Orioles, the only teams left in the bidding. The Angels offered an 8-year deal, worth 160 million dollars; Teixeira is seeking eight years for 180 million dollars.

While Teixeira would like to play out East, he would probably take the 170 million that the Red Sox were offering before going to the Nationals or Orioles. The ball is in Boras' court.

UPDATE: The source informed Tim Brown said that the Angels would not work with his agent, which could be a call to Mark Teixeira to step in and get a deal done. Hmmm...

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Sources: Burrell Likes Rays

According to sources, free agent outfielder Pat Burrell is intrigued by the possibility of DH-ing for the Rays. Burrell and the Rays know that his defense is slipping and bringing him in on a one or two year deal to play DH would not only have a huge impact on the Rays, but also add years to his career. Burrell hit .250 with 33 HR in 157 games for the World Champion Phillies last season, who defeated the Rays in the postseason. 

Players who have moved from the NL to the AL to DH have seen a rise in their average. Jim Thome hit .249 over three seasons with the Phillies, but then hit .269 for the White Sox over the next three seasons. If Burrell could hit .265-.270 with over thirty homeruns for the Rays, he could have a serious impact on the AL East. 

In 84 career at-bats as a DH, Burrell has hit .155 with 1 HR and 26 strikeouts.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Brewers Closing In On Looper

According to the Boston Globe, the Brewers are closing in on free agent pitcher Braden Looper. Looper, who went 12-14 with a 4.16 ERA in 33 starts, is the veteran pitcher the Brewers need. Adding Looper will take pressure off Yovani Gallardo to be their ace, as well as Manny Parra, who is coming off a terrible second half of the season. 

However, the Brewers signed a similar pitcher Jeff Suppan from the Cardinals back in 2006. Since then, he has gone 22-22, seeing a drop in strikeouts and a rise in ERA over the past two seasons. The Brewers might be smarter to go after someone like Randy Wolf or holding out for prices to fall on Oliver Perez or Ben Sheets. We'll see how this move plays out.

UPDATE: A source with knowledge of the Braden Looper negotiations responded "no" when asked if Looper was closing in on a deal with the Brewers.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Baldelli Wants To Play Closer To New England

Free agent outfielder Rocco Baldelli, coming off a positive rediognosis, is drawing interest from the Phillies, Reds, Mets, Red Sox, and Rays, among others. However, sources close to Baldelli have informed the Boston Globe that Baldelli prefers to play "closer to New England." The Red Sox, Phillies, and Mets are probably the best options, with the Rays as a dark horse. Baldelli hit .263 with 4 HR in 28 games for the Rays last season, but is a .281 career hitter. 

Baldelli's best fit would be with a team that would use him as a fourth outfielder, but would get him a couple hundred at-bats. The Mets and Phillies are solid picks if that is the case.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Orioles Making Late Push For Looper, Redding

Foxsports's Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Orioles are making a strong push to land both Braden Looper and Tim Redding. Both pitchers have solid work ethics, durable arms, and the veteran mindset that the Orioles rotation currently lacks. Redding is probably looking at a two year deal worth about 3.2-3.5 million dollars annually while Looper is looking at a deal worth about 6.0-6.3 milion dollars annually. 

Redding and Looper are both being pursued by the Rockies, but Redding is also drawing interest from the Mets and Pirates.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Sources: Four Teams Left In Turnbow Hunt

According to industry sources, the four teams left in the Turnbow hunt include the Marlins, Tigers, Rockies, and Pirates. Turnbow had a great 2005, compiling a 7-1 record with a 1.74 ERA in 69 games, but struggled in the years following. He struggled in 2008 in both the majors and Triple-A, and a change of scenery is his only hope. The Marlins reportedly have the inside track, but the Pirates could easily swoop in and lure him to one of his former teams division foes. 

Nothing appears imminent, so stay tuned.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Indians Make Offer To Nelson

The Indians have reportedly made an offer to reliever Joe Nelson, the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting. Nelson, who was non-tendered by the Marlins after going 3-1 with a 2.00 ERA in 59 games, has drawn interest from at least 18 teams. However, his agent told reporters that the Indians are one of his four preferred teams. 

Nelson, 34, is probably looking at a two year deal worth around 3-5 million dollars. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Nationals Sign Cabrera

The Nationals and pitcher Daniel Cabrera have reached an agreement on a one year deal, MLB.com is reporting. Cabrera, 27, was 8-10 with a 5.25 ERA for the Orioles last season, and was pursued by the Pirates and Mets as well. This is a great signing by the Nationals, who bring in a hard throwing pitcher who will not even have to leave his home in Baltimore to play with the Nationals. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Cardinals Backing Off Fuentes

The Cardinals have become frustrated with the Brian Fuentes talks and are moving on, KSDK is reporting. When I spoke with Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, he said Fuentes was their number one target, but they have other options. That doesn't necessarily mean they are going after Trevor Hoffman, but guys like Brandon Lyon or Eric Gagne are legitimate possibilities. The Cardinals have had a two year offer on the table for Fuentes for the past week, believed to be worth about 17-18 million dollars. 

Fuentes is reportedly holding out till the Mark Teixiera sweepstakes are over because of his interest in joining the Angels. However, Angels officials have said repeatedly that are content with in-house options at closer. This could be a ploy by the Cardinals to speed up the process, but a deal breaker would probably be giving him the same deal the Indians gave Kerry Wood (2/20).

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

A's After Giambi?

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Athletics may begin discussing a contract with Jason Giambi sometime next week. Giambi, 38, is reportedly seeking a three year deal, despite a poor finish to this past season hitting .230 in the final three months. Hitting 32 homeruns should help his case for a multiyear deal, but it is hard to see any team going beyond two years without a club option for Giambi. 

Giambi is also being pursued by the Rays, but he may be more interested in Oakland because he played there for seven seasons and may prefer an outdoor stadium. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Rockies After Redding

Sports agent Tom O'Connell confirmed to the Denver Post that the Rockies are very interested in free agent pitcher Tim Redding. Redding went 10-11 with a 4.95 ERA for the Nationals last season, and the Rockies hope Redding could be a filler for some of their young pitchers still developing. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Giants Still Pursuing Johnson

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, GM Brian Sabean told season ticket holders last week that he is still in talks with free agent pitcher Randy Johnson about a one year contract. Johnson still wants to pitch next season being just five wins from 300, and at least seven teams are in on him. The Cubs, A's, Brewers, Rangers, Astros, and Giants are all talking with the Johnson, but agent Barry Meister said he prefers to pitch on the West Coast. 

Not only will Johnson draw fans to the stadium, but he will mentor some of their young pitchers, which could have a huge impact on the Giants future.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Outfield Update

  • The Rays are pursuing an outfielder, and have engaged in talks with outfielder Bobby Abreu, Adam Dunn, and Pat Burrell. They are also talking with Jason Giambi, who they hope can be an upgrade over Cliff Floyd. Several different sources say they would be surprised if the "American League Champions" did not sign one of the top free agents.
  • The Cubs are still in talks with Milton Bradley. One rival executive said teams "like to protect themselves when they are pursuing players that are often injured." This would suggest that the hold up could be the Cubs working on opt clauses or incentive based bonus in case Bradley can't stay healthy. "All signs point to Bradley in Chicago," one agent said. 
  • Contrary to other reports, the Yankees have not made an offer to Manny Ramirez, Newsday is reporting.
  • Outfielder Juan Rivera is reportedly closing in on a deal with Angels, Yahoo! Sports is reporting. 
  • The Brewers signed Trot Nixon to a minor league deal.
  • The Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that the Reds have interest in Wily Taveras.
This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Source: Dodgers May Pursue Perez

According to a rival executive, the Dodgers may pursue free agent pitcher Oliver Perez. Perez went 10-7 with a 4.22 ERA in 34 games for the Mets last season, but won 15 games in 2007. Perez is reportedly very far apart in negotiations with the Mets, and may talk with the Brewers, Dodgers, and Reds about a deal. Perez may be interested in returning to the NL Central so he could face off against his former team, the Pirates.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Fuentes Waiting On Teixeira?

Free agent closer Brian Fuentes will reportedly wait out the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes, Ken Rosenthal suggests. Fuentes, who went 1-5 with a 2.73 ERA and 30 SV, is looking at a three year deal worth about 9-11 million dollars. Fuentes has some leverage in negotiations because of his strong finish, going 0-1 with a 1.51 ERA in his final 31 appearances. The Cardinals are the most aggressive suitors for Fuentes, but the Brewers are also interested.

Fuentes told his local newspaper in California that it would be fun to play for the Angels, but GM Tony Reagins told me that it is unlikely they add a closer. Angels manager Mike Scoscia went on to say that he is content with Arredondo and Shields splitting time. We'll see what happens.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

GM: Cameron to Yankees Is "Dead"

Milwaukee Brewers GM Doug Melvin said the Mike Cameron deal to the Yankees is dead. They couldn't come to an agreement on how much money was going to be going between the teams. Melvin intended to use the money that was freed up to go after pitching, but said the market has started to dry up, which suggests the Brewers might be done making moves.

The Brewers need a veteran in their rotation to support oft-injured pitcher Yovani Gallardo. Manny Parra showed signs of being a great pitcher, but fell apart in the second half of the season going 2-6, after going 8-2 coming into July. Parra lost some movement on his pitches in the second half, which caused him to leave them over the plate. It is possible he could emerge as their top starter next season, but the Brewers would be smart to go after someone like Randy Wolf, Andy Pettitte, Oliver Perez, or former Brewer Ben Sheets to anchor the rotation and take some pressure off their young pitchers.
This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dodgers To Target Koji?

Major League Baseball has informed all MLB teams that Japanese left hander Mitsui Koji will be posted beginning Thursday. Koji, who is 36-19 with a 4.41 ERA in his career, will likely draw serious interest in the majors. He played for the prestigious Seibu Lions and teams might turn to him in hopes they can land a "Hideki Okajima-like" reliever. Several teams will likely the lefty reliever, including the Dodgers, Mariners, Brewers, Reds, and Twins, among others. 

No word yet on how much posting will be, but because he is thirty-five, it will probably be fairly cheap, maybe 3-5 million dollars, with a two year deal worth about 4-5 million dollars. He went 1-1 with a 7.20 ERA in 23 relief appearances in 2008. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Furcal Chooses Dodgers

In an interesting turn of events, free agent shortstop has decided to return to the LA Dodgers, Ken Rosenthal is reporting. Rumors have been flying for the past two days saying that he was going to sign with Atlanta, but it has been confirmed now that he will return to Los Angeles. Furcal has been hit hard with injuries, but was a huge contributor when he was healthy. Because of the Dodgers' lack of options, he is a pretty good signing. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Quick Hits

Quick Hits:
  • If the Braves can sign Rafael Furcal, expect them to turn Yunel Escobar or Kelly Johnson in a trade for a pitcher Zack Greinke. Greinke went 13-10 with a 3.47 ERA and 183 K for the Royals last season, and could improve by a switch to the National League. 
  • The Pirates are reportedly targeting free agent flamethrower Daniel Cabrera, in hopes that a change of scenery could turn his erratic career around. I have heard a few executives mention the possibility of trying him as a reliever, but he is young enough to receive another opportunity to start. 
  • The Mets are targeting free agent pitcher Tim Redding, who went 10-11 with the Nationals last season. 
  • The Twins are reportedly expressing interest in a trade for Mariners third baseman Adrian Beltre.
  • The Orioles, who make their Spring Training home in Fort Lauderdale, are reportedly a top free agent catcher Matt Treanor's list. 
  • The Nationals are interested in Orlando Hudson and Adam Dunn if they cannot sign Mark Teixeira. They have the money, especially because Hudson and Dunn might come somewhat cheaper than expected.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Braves Join Furcal Hunt

The Braves have entered in the Rafael Furcal sweepstakes, according to FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal. Furcal spent nine seasons with the Braves, going back to 1996 when he was signed out of the Dominican Republic. According to sources close to him, Furcal would much rather play in Atlanta or Los Angeles, making this a distinct possibility. 

He might intrigued by the possibility of joining the Braves because it means the Braves can move either Kelly Johnson or Yunel Escobar for an All-Star caliber player. The Cardinals reportedly have an offer on the table that would send them Ryan Ludwick for Johnson, but no word if the offer still stands. Because they missed out on Burnett, they could go after Matt Cain using Johnson or a Red Sox young pitcher for Yunel Escobar. It's worth a call. 

BRAVES SIGN FURCAL, KEN ROSENTHAL IS REPORTING. 3 YEAR DEAL WITH A VESTING OPTION.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Cubs Closing In On Gathright?

According to cubs.com, the Cubs are closing in on free agent outfielder Joey Gathright. Gathright, who hit .254 in 105 games for the Royals last season, played for Piniella in Tampa and would give the Cubs a speedy, versatile bench player. Gathright has shown flashes of success, and getting the 27-year old back with his first manager could have a huge impact.

However, bringing in Gathright does not bode well for Felix Pie, a similar type player with more upside. The Cubs reportedly have a very high asking price for Pie, and they know by putting him back in Triple-A, where he has already proven himself, would give them no leverage in trade negotiations down the road. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Pirates Eye Wigginton?

Add the Pirates to the list of teams going after Ty Wigginton. The Indians, Giants, and Twins are all pursuing Wigginton, who was non-tendered this past weekend. Wigginton made 4.35 million dollars last season, and could receive as much as 7 million dollars after hitting .285 with 23 HR in 111 games. Wigginton last played for the Pirates in 2005, but struggled hitting .258 in 58 games. He might be more intrigued by playing for the Giants or Twins. Both teams have solid pitching, and would have even better hitting with the addition of Wigginton. Nothing appears imminent, so we might not hear anything until after the New Year.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

A's Closing In On Furcal?

The Athletics have offered Rafael Furcal a four year deal worth 40 million dollars, ESPN's Buster Olney is reporting. Furcal can have a major impact on any team he plays for, but whether he can stay healthy is the big question. He played in just 36 games for the Dodgers last season, hitting .357 with a .439 OBP. The Dodgers and Royals are also interested, but the Royals have to find a taker for Jose Guillen, who will make 24 million dollars over the next two seasons. As for the Dodgers, they still have holes in their lineup and cannot put too much money on the table without getting a sense of the market at other positions.

The Athletics will likely offer Furcal different salary amounts over the course of the four seasons. This way, it will benefit their payroll as well as entice Furcal to sign the deal. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Phillies Sign Moyer

The Phillies and Jamie Moyer have come to an agreement on a two year deal. Moyer, 46, led the Phillies with 16 wins last season. Not only does he bring an excellent work ethic to the team but he brings experience to a fairly young staff. 

Despite his age, this is a solid signing. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bradley Race Coming To A Close?

According to Ken Rosenthal, there are only two teams left that are seriously pursuing outfielder Milton Bradley, the Rays and Cubs. As of last night, the Cubs were reportedly very close to a deal with Bradley, but that was refuted. However, several Cubs officials have given the Cubs their endorsement for Bradley, including Cubs hitting coach Gerald Perry, who coached Bradley in 2006 with the Athletics. The positives to staying in the American League is that he gets to be a DH, protecting his oft-injured body. Going to the NL, he would join the dominant Chicago Cubs and give them even more depth and pop in the lineup. 

The Cubs, according to Bradley's agent, are the favorites to land his player. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Brewers-Yankees Trade Update

The Brewers and Yankees are still working on sending Mike Cameron to the Yankees for Melky Cabrera and another player. That other player is Kei Igawa, who is set to make twelve million dollars over the next three seasons. "Talks are going well, they are just held up over money," one source said with knowledge of the negotiations. Igawa could find success in the National League, especially after struggling in the tough AL East. 

The trade might be finalized by the end of the week. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.