The first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings didn’t disappoint, bringing trades, free agent speculation and rumors right from the opening bell.
Out of the gate, the Orioles picked up some extra power
, acquiring third baseman Mark Reynolds from the D-backs for right-hander David Hernandez and right-hander Kam Mickolio. While the deal gave the O’s some thump in their lineup, Arizona continued its work to bolster the bullpen.
Now here’s a look at some of the rumors around the league on Day 1 of the Winter Meetings:
– Cliff Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker held court
on Monday, telling reporters he was in the process of setting up meetings with different teams regarding Lee. Braunecker declined to speculate if a deal could be reached this week, saying it was too early to know. His client is on a hunting trip, but can be reached if anything substantial arises.
– Another third baseman, Adrian Beltre is still looking for a potential fit after the Athletics reportedly walked away from negotiations. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports suggested Beltre’s asking price was in the neighborhood of five years, $85 million, while ESPN.com’s Buster Olney tweeted that Beltre’s camp was hoping to go north of $70 million.
– The Red Sox are interested in left-handed reliever Brian Fuentes, multiple media outlets reported on Monday. Fuentes would be a solid fit in Boston’s bullpen, but wouldn’t cost them the Draft picks that Scott Downs would. The question on Fuentes is, will he opt for a job where he can be assured some ninth-inning opportunities. Another option for the
Red Sox is Ron Mahay, who also wouldn’t require any Draft picks.
– The Dodgers, who have been looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder to platoon with Jay Gibbons, have expressed interest in former Braves outfielder Matt Diaz, according to MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick
. Diaz put up solid numbers for Atlanta in 2010, hitting .250 with seven homers. The outfielder, who was non-tendered by the Braves earlier this month, also has experience playing in a platoon situation. The Yankees have also discussed picking up Diaz to complement Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner, Ed Price of AOL FanHouse tweeted Monday.
– Several teams are reportedly ramping up their interest on free agent outfielder Jeff Francoeur on the first day of the meetings. The Rockies, Royals and Phillies have all been known to have some interest Francoeur, but it’s Kansas City and Philadelphia who are more aggressively the former first round pick, according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark. It could come down to right-handed hitting Francoeur’s desire for playing time, which would be the Royals, FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reported on Twitter. The Phillies have been talking to the Braves, Francoeur’s former team, about him, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel feels he can “fix” Francoeur, a baseball source told Stark.
-After signing Troy Tulowitzki to a long-term contract, the Rockies are apparently looking at doing the same for CarGo. The club made an informal offer to Gonzalez in the seven-to-ten year range, Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweeted on Monday. Even if informal, it may not be necessary yet. Gonzalez isn’t eligible for arbitration until after next year and won’t reach free agency until after 2014.
– Fresh off the Adrian Gonzalez deal, Padres GM Jed Hoyer denied that the team was going to be dismantled in a fire sale. Closer Heath Bell will return in 2011, Hoyer confirmed.
“This isn’t a fire sale,” Hoyer said. “We’re not giving up on 2011. It’s a move we felt we had to make for the future.”
– There has been interest in the Dodgers’ first baseman James Loney, from the Cubs, Nationals and Brewers, according to multiple media reports. Whether or not Loney is available is another question. The Dodgers would be very reluctant to trade Loney because of the cost of replacing him on the free agent market, Steve Henson of Yahoo Sports tweeted on
-Free agent reliever Koji Uehara has at least six teams interested, according to the Baltimore Sun. In addition to the Orioles, the interested teams are the Mariners, Twins, Red Sox, Brewers and Cardinals. Uehara had been said to be seeking a multiyear deal.
– Another player with many teams in the mix is utility player Bill Hall. There are at least seven teams interested in Hall, according to SI.com’s Jon Heyman, with the Yankees being one of them.
– The Pirates have some interest in adding Braves pitcher Kenshin Kawakami
, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reported Monday. The 35-year-old is slated to make $6.67 million next season and the Braves will likely have to pay a good chunk of that salary to trade the right-hander. He’s in the final year of a three-year contract with Atlanta.
-In Atlanta, the Braves are still exploring ways to bolster their lineup and have shown interest in Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain, according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman
. The 24-year-old Cain hit .306 in 43 games with Milwaukee last season. The Brewers aren’t looking to trade Cain, though, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported on Twitter. The Brewers will listen, he said, but aren’t overly inclined to make a move.
– The Twins began their negotiations with Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka’s agent on Monday, according to multiple media reports. Nishioka is believed to be seeking a three-year deal, Heyman reported on Twitter.
– Looking for some solid starting pitching, the Mets are still looking at Chris Young and Jeff Francis, according to Heyman, who suggested the club seems to think Brandon Webb and his shoulder issues represent too much of a risk.
— Bailey Stephens