November 2012

Angels out on Greinke? …

What started out as a pie-in-the-sky, dream number now looks like a very hard dose of reality.

Zack Greinke is expected to garner a contract of six years at $150 million, making him the highest-paid right-handed pitcher in baseball history, according to Tuesday reports from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Buster Olney of ESPN.com reported he could even beat CC Sabathia’s record contract of seven years and $161 million.

That may be too rich for the Angels’ blood.

And according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, the Angels have pretty much relented, writing Tuesday that they are “now unlikely to sign” Greinke because they aren’t willing to shell out that kind of money. “Long-term costs are making it tough,” an industry source told MLB.com, adding that “there are financial limits” with the Angels.

And that’s part of the problem.

The Dodgers, reported by several media outlets to be the favorites, could generate up to $7 billion in a TV deal with FOX Sports that kicks in after 2013 — or, an average of $240 million for 25 years — according to a report by The Los Angeles Times. In short, they don’t really have “financial limits.” That gives them the ability to outbid anyone for Greinke, even though they already have nearly $200 million tied to 18 players.

The Angels agreed on a one-year contract with Ryan Madson Tuesday, which is pending a physical, but that’s expected to be a low-base salary, high-incentive deal. They cleared a bunch of money by letting Torii Hunter go, buying out Dan Haren’s option and dealing Ervin Santana.

But if the Dodgers are willing to write a blank check, as is essentially being reported, there isn’t much they can do.

Keep in mind, though, that this is a negotiation and a fluid situation. And agents sure have a way of driving up the price. The Angels are basically in a two-front bidding war for Greinke — against the Dodgers on the West coast, and against the Rangers in the AL West.

– Alden Gonzalez 

11/27 Afternoon roundup: Yankees, Angels close to signings

  • The Yankees are reportedly doing their best to bring back some of their prominent free agent targets and want to do so before the upcoming Winter Meetings. According to multiple reports, the club is close to working out a deal with left-hander Andy Pettitte, and talks with closer Mariano Rivera have also heated up. As for outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, there are conflicting reports about the progress of his potential deal, but both parties have expressed interest in the past of getting it done.
  • Sticking to the AL East, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reported that the Red Sox and Royals have discussed a potential (and surprising) blockbuster deal that would send Jon Lester to Kansas City for top Royals outfield prospect Wil Myers.
  • If Ryan Madson reverts to old form after Tommy John surgery, it could mean good things for the Angels, who are close to signing him to a one-year contract, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez has confirmed, following an initial report from CBSSports.com. Madson was born and raised in Southern California, currently lives in Temecula, Calif., and rehabbed from surgery in Anaheim under the watch of Angels doctors.
  • The Marlins already have one great power hitter in Giancarlo Stanton, but they’re looking to add another this offseason. To do this, they’re taking a closer look at their home ballpark and the impact it has on the long ball. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro takes a closer look here.
  • The Padres are on the lookout for starting pitching, and innings-eaters like Joe Blanton and Shaun Marcum could be at the top of that wish list.

Dombrowski on closer: “Our outlook has not changed”

Does this sound like a familiar scenario: The Tigers say they’re set at a particular position, one where prominent agent Scott Boras has a well-known free agent looking for a market. Boras bypasses team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski and talks with owner Mike Ilitch. The Tigers abruptly change course and get involved.

It happened three winters ago with Johnny Damon. Could it be happening right now with Rafael Soriano? With Tuesday’s report from MLB Network’s Peter Gammons that Boras talked with Ilitch about Soriano on Monday, you have to wonder.

Here’s the report from Gammons on MLB Network’s Hot Stove show this morning:

The Tigers have maintained that they’d like to give hard-throwing rookie Bruce Rondon a chance to win the closer’s job, though Dombrowski said they could still take a look at the market later and could add somebody under the right scenario.

Dombrowski reaffirmed that approach when reached Tuesday.

“Our outlook has not changed,” Dombrowski replied in an email.

In fairness, the Tigers initially downplayed the rumors about Damon a few years ago, only to reach a deal six weeks later. So eventually, maybe they’ll do the same with Soriano. If it happens, though, it doesn’t sound like it’s imminent. With the notable exception of Prince Fielder, no Boras deal ever seems to be quick.

All along, the expectation was that Boras would try to get the Tigers — and especially Ilitch — involved on Soriano. The question has always been whether Ilitch would listen. Bill Madden of the New York Daily News reported a couple weeks ago that it already happened, and that Ilitch said no. Others have reported that it hadn’t happened yet but they expected it to come. ESPN’s Buster Olney cited executives from other teams expecting it to happen.

That doesn’t mean Soriano will get the kind of massive deal that he wants, one that torpedoes the Tigers’ long-term plans for Rondon. Time will tell if there’s a compromise to be found somewhere in there.

– Jason Beck

Padres in need of starting pitching

Padres general manager Josh Byrnes said Monday that the team can’t afford to take a flyer on a health-risk in its pursuit of landing two starting pitchers to bolster the rotation for 2013.

The Padres have few glaring holes to attend to this winter, though the rotation is a big one the team will seek to address before the start of Spring Training.

The Padres had only two starters — Clayton Richard and Edinson Volquez — make 16 or more starts in 2012, as the rotation was ravaged by injuries to several key pitchers. Cory Luebke and Joe Wieland each had Tommy John surgery last season and won’t return until mid-2013 at the earliest.

So the Padres singular focus is starting pitching and are open to trades or free agency to tend to this need. Byrnes said Monday the team has had more talks on the trade front.

“We have focused most of our energy on starting pitching … with more of our energy on trades than free agency,” Byrnes said. “Now we have to bide our time and find the ones who fit.”

The Padres are looking for innings-eaters and pitchers like Joe Blanton and Shaun Marcum could be at or near the top of their wish list.

– Corey Brock

Impact of Marlins Park in Miami power search

MIAMI — Adding some power is a priority of the Marlins as they prepare for the Winter Meetings.

Ryan Raburn, who cleared waivers on Monday, fits the mold of what the team is seeking.

Miami hit 137 home runs in 2012, with 37 coming from Giancarlo Stanton. The Marlins were tied with the Cubs for the 23rd most in the big leagues.

In Miami, home runs were even more of a challenge for any team. According to StatsPass, expansive Marlins Park was the third toughest building in the big leagues to belt a home run. There were just 113 total homers at Miami’s new building.

The Marlins hit 55 of their 137 home runs at home, which also ranked 28th.

Watching long drives, especially to center field wind up being loud-outs, prompted Miami first baseman Carlos Lee to have some fun with opponents. Seeing their reaction go from excitement to disappointment after a long fly out, Lee would quip: “Not at Marlins Park. Not in Miami.”

On the road, Miami hit 82 home runs, middle of the pack at 14th overall.

Marlins officials have repeatedly said they have no intention on moving in the fences. If that is the case, it will be challenging to attract an established free agent power hitter.

Still, the team could look to stock up on more players capable of reaching 15-20. Basically, players who pull the ball, have a greater chance of hitting home runs in Miami. Cody Ross, anyone?

Obviously, home runs don’t measure the success of a team. All you have to do is see that the Giants hit just 31 home runs at home. And AT&T Park overall was dead last, with 84 home runs.

With their ballpark playing big, the Marlins appear to be building like the Giants, around pitching, defense and timely hitting.

Total home runs in each ballpark

Yankee Stadium                 232

Miller Park                    230

U.S. Cellular Field            228

Camden Yards                   226

Coors Field                    218

Rogers Centre                  204

Rangers Ballpark               202

Great American                 199

Fenway Park                    185

Citizens Bank Park             175

Chase Field                    174

Target Field                   167

Nationals Park                 165

Angel Stadium                  161

Comerica Park                  159

Minute Maid Park               158

Citi Field                     155

O.co Coliseum                  153

Wrigley Field                  153

Progressive Field              149

Kauffman Stadium               149

Busch Stadium                  140

Turner Field                   137

Tropicana Field                137

Dodger Stadium                 126

PNC Park                       125

Safeco Field                   116

Marlins Park                   113

PETCO Park                     109

AT&T Park                       84

(Courtesy of StatsPass)

– Joe Frisaro

 

 

 

Angels, Madson close on one-year deal

UPDATE, WEDNESDAY, 10:46 A.M. PT: Madson finalized his contract with the Angels. It’s for a base salary of $3.5 million and can be valued up to $7 million. There’s up to $2.5 million based on time on the active roster, and $1 million for amount of games finished.

——-

The Angels’ desire to upgrade the bullpen has seemingly taken them to Ryan Madson, who missed last season with Tommy John surgery but could be a big addition if he reverts back to form next year.

A source confirmed to MLB.com on Tuesday morning that the Angels and Madson are closing in on a one-year contract, following an initial report by CBSSports.com. Details are still being ironed out and the team hasn’t commented on the deal, which wouldn’t be official until Madson passes a physical.

A Madson-Angels pairing would in many ways be ideal, given Jerry Dipoto’s aspirations to add to the ‘pen but also balance that with the need for starting pitching, particularly Zack Greinke. Madson’s new contract is expected to be low in base salary and high in incentives, perhaps mainly based on games finished.

Madson, represented by Scott Boras, was born and raised in Southern California, currently lives in Temecula, Calif., and rehabbed from Tommy John surgery in Anaheim under the watch of Angels doctors. He had a base salary of $6 million during his lost season with the Reds in 2011, then declined his half of the $11 million mutual option for 2013 in order to get the $2.5 million buyout (the Reds would’ve declined their half anyway).

The Angels ranked fourth with a $159 million payroll last season, but cleared a lot of it by not resigning fan favorite Torii Hunter – quickly signed to a two-year, $26 million deal by the Tigers – paying $3.5 million to buy out Dan Haren’s option and sending more than 90 percent of Ervin Santana’s 2013 contract to the Royals.

With the remaining money, the Angels hope to fill two spots in their rotation and strengthen a bullpen that has totaled an American League-leading 47 blown saves the last two years.

If this deal gets finalized, and Madson bounces back, they can perhaps scratch that last part off their list.

– Alden Gonzalez 

Surprising rumor surfaces involving Lester

While it should be noted that teams discuss hundreds of conceptual trades during the winter that never see the light of day, a a lot of them never even reach the rumor mill. However, one surprising one was reported on Monday night.

Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reported that the Red Sox and Royals discussed a potential blockbuster that would send Boston lefty Jon Lester to Kansas City for top Royals outfield prospect Wil Myers. WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford confirmed the report. Both writers said that no deal is close at this time.

It’s surprising, however, that the Red Sox would even discuss trading Lester, long a cornerstone of their rotation. But Lester is coming off the worst season of his career (9-14, 4.82 ERA) and is two years away from free agency.

Perhaps Boston just wanted to gauge his value. As for Myers, he is an intriguing soon-to-be 22-year-old prospect who hit .304 at Triple-A last season with 24 homers, 79 RBIs and a .932 OPS.

Ian Browne

Reports: Yankees working on re-signing key free agents

According to multiple web reports Tuesday morning, the Yankees are nearing deals with a few prominent free agents, with hopes of finalizing contracts before the upcoming Winter Meetings.

ESPN the Magazine’s Buster Olney reported that left-hander Andy Pettitte, who is looking to continue his comeback career that began when he re-joined the club midway through the 2012 season, is close to announcing he’ll return to the Yankees next year and is expected to soon finish a deal.

Additionally, Joel Sherman of the New York Post and CBSSports.com‘s Jon Heyman have reported that the team expects to work out a deal with closer Mariano Rivera by the end of the week. Japan’s Nikkan Sports has also written that Ichiro Suzuki, who came to New York this year in a Trade Deadline deal, is set to agree to a 1-year, $5 million deal, though Newsday has refuted the report.

Pettitte, 40, was effective in 12 starts (5-4, 2.87 ERA) last year though his season was limited by a fractured left ankle suffered in late June. Suzuki, too, was revitalized after coming to New York in July — batting .322 and driving in 27 runs in 67 games.

Rivera is coming off a season that was shortened after he tore his right ACL.

Having recently re-signed pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to a $15 million contract, the Yankees could now turn their attention to  free agent catcher Russell Martin.

– Joey Nowak

Reds, Broxton in ‘serious talks’?

FoxSports.com/MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal is reporting Monday afternoon that the Reds and free agent reliever Jonathan Broxton are in serious talks about a three-year contract. The story is based info from anonymous sources.

I have calls out to Reds GM Walt Jocketty and BB Abbott, the agent for Broxton.

By signing Broxton to a long-term deal, the path would be paved for the Reds to move current closer Aroldis Chapman into the rotation — something that they wanted to do in 2011 before injuries crushed the bullpen during Spring Training. If Chapman was unsuccessful in the transition, he could always return to closing and Broxton can go back to setting up for Chapman.

Broxton, 28, was acquired by Cincinnati from the Royals on July 31. Overall in 60 appearances totaling 58 innings, he posted a 2.48 ERA, 56 hits, 17 walks and 45 strikeouts. While Chapman missed 10 days with shoulder fatigue in September, Broxton stepped up and was 4-for-4 in save chances.


— Mark Sheldon

Reports: Angels chasing Madson

Born in Long Beach, Calif., free agent reliever Ryan Madson is drawing interest from the Angels, according to multiple reports Sunday. CSNPhilly.com first reported the story.

Madson, 32, wants to be a closer but will not be ready to go when the season opens because of Tommy John surgery. Madson took a one-year deal with Cincinnati in 2012 and likely will have to do the same for 2013.

Madson has still thrown a pitch in the Majors for only the Phillies, whom he spent nine seasons with through 2011. He had a 2.55 ERA with a 10.9 K/9 rate in 2010 and a 2.37 ERA with a 9.2 K/9 rate in 2011.

Madson’s high school, Valley View in Moreno Valley, Calif., is about an hour away from Angel Stadium.

— Evan Drellich

 

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