The General Manager Meetings concluded Wednesday in Orlando, Fla., with only one signing: infielder Nick Punto inking a one-year deal with a vesting option with the A’s.
Though that’s not a sexy move, there’s no doubt plenty of groundwork was laid by many teams as the Hot Stove will continue for the rest of the offseason, with this blog keeping you updated.
Wednesday’s highlight was agent Scott Boras holding court with reporters and discussing a variety of topics, including three of his top clients: outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo and shortstop Stephen Drew.
Those three don’t appear close to signing, instead going through the process like everyone else.
“I think every free agent wants to get their deal done yesterday,” Boras said. “There’s kind of a tide that works in this process, and every once in a while you have clubs that make quicker decisions than others, and a lot of that has to do with exhausting trade possibilities, along with their plan and design with their owners. Really, it has to do a lot with the math the teams have to do to make the strike. Historically, there’s always a few that jump quicker. But for the most part, a lot of teams respond to the pursuit of the player when they know that pursuit of the player has a timetable.”
Here’s a rundown of Wednesday’s rumors and happenings:
- MLB.com’s Brittany Ghrioli breaks down rumors of shortstop J.J. Hardy being on the trading block, which Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette shot down, saying, “We are not shopping J.J. Hardy.”
- Boston general manager Ben Cherington said he is reluctant to deal young arms in a potential trade. Cherington also said he believes its possible Ellsbury returns to Boston next season, though it doesn’t seem as there’s been much communication between the two camps. Also, second baseman Dustin Pedroia underwent successful surgery on his left thumb Wednesday morning. He will be ready for the regular season, but may miss time early in Spring Training.
- Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he believes Jay-Z, who is affiliated with Robinson Cano’s CAA Sports, will play a role in negotiations with the second baseman — though most discussions thus far have been with veteran agent Brodie Van Wagenen. Elsewhere in Yankee-land, managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner expressed confidence in Derek Jeter’s return. Also: free-agent reliever Brian Wilson isn’t a fit for the Yankees because he won’t shave his beard. The Yankees also discussed a potential deal for Cardinals third baseman David Freese, according to The New York Daily News.
- The Rays spent the GM Meetings gathering information.
- On the same day Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer was named the AL Cy Young Award winner, he told reporters on a conference call, including MLB.com’s Jason Beck, that he’s open to a new deal. “I love it here in Detroit,” Scherzer said. “We’re capable of putting out a team that’s able to win every single year right now. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? I’m here to win and win a World Series. I realize I’ve got a good situation here in Detroit. But it also takes two to dance.”
- Scherzer and fellow Tigers righty Rick Porcello have been rumored to be on the trade market. Add Doug Fister to that list, tweets Fox Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi.
- Free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, one of the most sought-after bats this offseason, told MLB.com’s Dick Kaegel it’d be “a great story” if he returned to Kansas City. Beltran was the Royals’ second-round pick in the 1995 Draft and played his first 6 1/2 seasons in K.C.
- The Indians hired Matt Quatraro as assistant hitting coach.
- MLB.com’s Barry Bloom sat down with A’s general manager Billy Beane for an exclusive Q&A.
- Major League owners are expected to approve Rangers co-chairman Ray Davis as the organization’s “control person” at the quarterly Owners Meetings on Thursday.
- The Mets were busy in Orlando, reportedly meeting with shortstop Jhonny Peralta on Wednesday and setting the groundwork for other future moves. Peralta is looking for more than three years and $45 million, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney.
- Multiple teams have checked in on Mets first baseman Ike Davis, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. Among those Heyman lists are the Astros, Brewers, Rays, Rockies and Orioles.
- The Braves avoided arbitration and reached a one-year deal with reliever Jonny Venters, who should return from his second Tommy John surgery next summer. Also, general manager Frank Wren said the Braves’ move to their new stadium in 2017 won’t impact their decisions for 2014.
- Although they didn’t make any deal at the GM Meetings, the Marlins were encouraged by their work in Orlando.
- Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. says the addition of outfielder Marlon Byrd, who the club officially signed Tuesday, improves Philadelphia on offense and defense.
- MLB.com’s Bill Ladson answered Nationals fans’ questions in his Inbox, including if the Nats would think about moving Anthony Rendon.
- MLB.com’s Richard Justice writes of the Reds trying to shake their feeling of underachievement.
- CSNChicago’s Patrick Mooney writes that the Cubs have free-agent catcher Kurt Suzuki on their radar. Suzuki would help complement incumbent youngster Welington Castillo, who is viewed as a building block.
- The D-backs have two quality shortstops in Chris Owings and Didi Gregorius. If they’re both still in Arizona when Spring Training opens, general manager Kevin Towers expects a tight competition.
- Giants general manager Brian Sabean said catcher Buster Posey will not be moving to first base any time soon.
- Teams have inquired about Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler, writes MLB.com’s Thomas Harding. Also included in Harding’s post is that the Rockies aren’t interested in surrendering a first-round Draft pick for free agents who received qualifying offers. Colorado also received sticker shock after hearing catcher Carlos Ruiz received a two-year, $20-million offer, though the Rockies will monitor the situation.
- Sticking with the Rockies, MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby writes that they are looking to add players — not trade them away.
- Dodgers president Stan Kasten expressed support for manager Don Mattingly.
- MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick breaks down how Punto’s signing with the A’s impacts the Dodgers infield.
– Cash Kruth