December 2012

Padres’ talks with Edwin Jackson ‘just chatter’ for now

It’s no secret that the Padres have a great deal of interest in free-agent starter Edwin Jackson. MLB.com’s Corey Brock wrote a piece Friday detailing San Diego’s desire to bolster its rotation, and Jackson is on the club’s short list.

Indeed, Jackson’s name  continues to be linked to the Padres in rumors and reports. FOX’s Ken Rosenthal tweeted last week that the Padres are “strongly pursuing” Jackson. Jim Bowden of ESPN and Sirius XM tweeted that the two sides “continue to negotiate” on a three-year contract. And CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman said the Padres, Rangers and other clubs have been “in touch” with Jackson.

Scott Miller of CBSSports.com threw some cold water on the fire, noting that while the Padres are trying to lock up Jackson with a multi-year deal, those negotiations are “just chatter” at the moment.

Jackson, a 29-year-old right-hander, makes a lot of sense for the Padres, as he’s a durable veteran who pitched for San Diego GM Josh Byrnes and assistant GM A.J. Hinch in Arizona. You might even recall Jackson tossing an unusual no-hitter for the D-backs against another one of his former teams, the Rays, while Hinch was at the helm.

The free-agent market for pitchers has proven to be quite expensive this winter, however, and the Padres would prefer to keep their deals to three years or shorter, which means San Diego might have to fill its rotation needs through trades.

-Adam Berry

Report: Indians ‘making a push’ for Swisher

Less than a week ago, it was reported that free-agent outfielder Nick Swisher was drawing interest from several teams, including the Red Sox, Phillies, Mariners, Rangers, Orioles and Indians, and planned to meet with a few of them in person soon. Now, it appears Cleveland is zeroing in on the former Yankees slugger.

ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted Monday that the Indians are “making a push” to sign Swisher. Adding to that, Nick Camino of WTAM 1100 in Cleveland tweets that Swisher is expected to have dinner with Indians president Mark Shapiro on Monday night.

On Thursday, CBSSports’ Scott Miller posted that three or four clubs were seriously interested in Swisher, but he was “not even close” to choosing where he’ll play in 2013.

The 32-year-old OF/1B posted a .272/.364/.473 batting line with 36 doubles, 24 homers and 93 RBIs last year for the Yankees.

-Adam Berry

Report: Red Sox sign Drew to one-year deal

The Red Sox have found their everyday shortstop for 2013, reportedly agreeing to a one-year, $9.5 million contract with Stephen Drew. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and MLB Network first reported terms of the deal.

Drew finished last season with the A’s after the D-backs traded him, putting together a combined .223/.309/.348 batting line with seven homers and 28 RBIs in 79 games. The 29-year-old missed time early on in the year while recovering from an ankle injury suffered in 2011.

For his career, Drew owns a .265/.328/.433 batting line with 77 home runs and 349 RBIs. Regarded as the top shortstop available in a thin free-agent market, Drew reportedly received interest from several teams, including the A’s and Yankees.

Signing Drew for just one year gives Boston time to further develop its two top shortstop prospects, 22-year-old Jose Iglesias and 20-year-old Xander Bogaerts. The move also continues Boston’s flurry of offseason activity. The Red Sox have already agreed to terms with outfielder Shane Victorino, starter Ryan Dempster, reliever Koji Uehara, catcher David Ross and C/1B Mike Napoli, whose deal is not yet finalized.

Drew is the younger brother of J.D. Drew, who spent the final five seasons of his career with the Red Sox.

Dickey could be moving north of the border

R.A. Dickey’s storybook three-year run with the Mets may be coming to an end. The Mets are seriously discussing a trade of the reigning Cy Young Award-winner, according to multiple people involved in the negotiations, and could strike a deal as soon as Saturday. The Blue Jays are reportedly frontrunners for his services.

But people involved with the negotiations said Friday evening that nothing was imminent. For at least one more night, the Mets expected Dickey to remain in their employ.

The Jays, who possess surplus catching and outfield depth, have long been considered natural trade partners for the Mets, and now appear to be closing in on his services. Some combination of catchers Travis d’Arnaud or J.P. Arencibia, in addition to outfielder Anthony Gose, could land Dickey.

MLB.com reported late Friday afternoon that the Rangers, long considered serious suitors for Dickey, are no longer in the running. And despite rampant speculation that Josh Hamilton’s arrival in Orange County could prompt the Angels to trade some of their outfield surplus, a deal with the Halos appears no more likely now than it was at the beginning of this week.

–Anthony DiComo

Dec. 14: Dickey rumors

With Zack Greinke signing with the Dodgers and James Shields already dealt, talk has been heating up Friday regarding Mets right-hander R.A. Dickey.

Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com tweeted “all signs point to Mets trading Dickey.”

Rosenthal mentioned the Rangers as a possible trade partner, but MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan tweeted that Texas is not involved with talks regarding the National League Cy Young Award winner.

Other teams showing interest are the Blue Jays, according to the New York Post’s Ken Davidoff, while Davidoff’s colleague Mike Puma also lists the Angels and Orioles as possible trade partners.

-Cash Kruth

Could Hamilton’s decision sway Marlins’ thinking?

MIAMI — What’s happening with the Angels may have a domino effect that could impact the Marlins.

Josh Hamilton, the biggest free agent on the market, reportedly has reached agreement on a five-year, $125 million contract with the Angels.

Once the signing becomes official, the balance in the American League West has again shifted. The Angels’ lineup becomes perhaps the best in the game.

So what’s next for the Rangers?

All eyes turn to them to see if they will make a counter punch. If they do, they may have to seek a big trade.

Or how about the Angels? They now have a surplus of outfielders, and they too may seek to make more deals.

At the Winter Meetings, the Marlins told teams that Giancarlo Stanton is not available. That was then, prior to Hamilton relocating to Southern California.

The Rangers have a loaded farm system, and if they are willing to offer some of their top young players, the Marlins may be in position to cash in, if they don’t consider Stanton part of their long-term plans.

Would Miami be tempted to move Stanton if suddenly Jurickson Profar and/or Mike Olt are centerpieces in a deal?

The Marlins also could be positioning themselves to tap into what the Angels now have available.

Peter Bourjos, a speedy outfielder, has been on the Marlins’ radar for a while. Could he suddenly be had in a trade? Mark Trumbo and Kendrys Morales also may be on the market.

Miami’s farm system is substantial stronger since the Nov. 19 trade with the Blue Jays. If something makes sense, there are prospects who could be moved.

Since the Winter Meetings, the Marlins have been searching for a third baseman. Now, the landscape for trades has changed. Will Miami’s front office also have a change of heart and seek more deals?

Joe Frisaro

 

Angels positioning themselves for big move?

UPDATE, 11:24 AM PT: Josh Hamilton is headed to the Angels, a source told MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. According to ESPNDallas.com, Hamilton signed a five-year deal.

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It seemed like the Angels were mostly done for the offseason, after acquiring two starting pitchers (Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton) and two back-end relievers (Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett) to push their payroll to about $140 million.

But maybe that has changed.

ESPN.com’s Buster Olney wrote via Twitter on Thursday that the Angels are “positioning themselves for a big strike in the market,” speculating that high-priced free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton could be the target. Joe McDonnell of FOXSportsWest.com attributed a Major League source in tweeting that the Angels are in serious negotiations with Hamilton.

On Wednesday, when the four new pitchers were introduced at the ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said: “I don’t feel like anything else is imminent, I don’t feel like anything else is pressing and I don’t think anything else is required.” And a source told MLB.com that if the Angels do make another signing, it’d probably be in January if the market dries up on a starting pitcher, prompting him to take much lower than expected.

But has owner Arte Moreno suddenly decided to stretch out the budget once more, like he did last offseason to acquire Albert Pujols? And is it a reaction to the big-ticket moves made by the Dodgers, as Olney speculated?

Perhaps.

– Alden Gonzalez

12/13 Cubs talk to Sanchez

The Cubs are one of the teams to make an offer to free agent pitcher Anibal Sanchez, but reports that the deal is done are not true. According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and MLB Network, the Cubs did discuss a five-year, $75 million deal with Sanchez. However, the Tigers are still in the mix. Sanchez, 28, would give the Cubs a more competitive rotation next season, and the team does have money to spend. However, what Sanchez has to weigh is that the Cubs are still in rebuilding mode. He began the 2012 season with the Marlins and was dealt to the Tigers in July. Sanchez finished 4-6 with a 3.74 ERA, and was 1-2 with a 1.77 ERA in the postseason. If he joined the Cubs, he’d be inserted into a rotation that includes Jeff Samardzija, Matt Garza, Travis Wood and newcomers Scott Baker and Scott Feldman. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported the Cubs and Sanchez deal was done, but sources have confirmed that’s not the case.

– Carrie Muskat

Cards send Schumaker to Dodgers

Unsure of how he fit into the Cardinals’ 2013 plans, Skip Schumaker, along with his agent, met with general manager John Mozeliak shortly after the season ended and expressed a willingness to be traded before entering into the final year of his current two-year contract.

The Cardinals found a trade partner with the Dodgers, and on Wednesday the two clubs announced a swap that will send Schumaker to Los Angeles and Minor League infielder Jake Lemmerman to St. Louis. Though reports of a pending deal surfaced on Tuesday, an official announcement had to wait until after Schumaker underwent and passed the Dodgers’ physical exam.

With Lemmerman, the Cardinals improve their Minor League depth at shortstop, a position that is lacking in impact talent within the organization’s farm system. Lemmerman, a fifth-round pick out of Duke University in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, advanced to Double-A late in the 2011 season and returned there in 2012. He hit .233 with a .347 on-base percentage.

As for Schumaker, he is faced with leaving an organization that signed him out of the Draft in 2001. Schumaker made his Major League debut with the Cardinals in 2005 and appeared in at least 100 games for St. Louis each of the last five seasons. He was a part of two World Championship clubs.

– Jenifer Langosch

Dodgers Shopping List Dwindles

The trade for utilityman Skip Schumaker, expected to be announced after he passes a physical exam, will leave the Dodgers needing only a left-handed reliever and a backup corner infielder from their stated off-season goals. The recent signings of Zack Greinke and Hyun-jin Ryu loaded up the starting rotation and Schumaker becomes the fourth outfielder who not only has the center-field skills to back up Matt Kemp, but will receive added at-bats when second baseman Mark Ellis needs a rest. Still needed is a bullpen replacement for lefty Randy Choate and a right-handed hitting corner infielder who can spell Adrian Gonzalez at first base and provide insurance for Luis Cruz at third base. The Dodgers also want to add a veteran catcher at Triple-A., as rookie Tim Federowicz will back up A.J. Ellis in Los Angeles. — Ken Gurnick

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