Author Archive

Report: Melky receives offer from Mariners

According to ESPNDeportes’ Enrique Rojas, the Mariners have made a three-year offer to free-agent outfielder Melky Cabrera. But Cabrera wants a four-year deal, according to the report, which doesn’t specify how much Seattle’s contract offer was worth.

Cabrera might be looking for a four-year deal like the one the Mariners handed out to Nelson Cruz earlier this offseason, and that pact was worth $57 million. Reports have linked Cabrera to the Mariners, Royals, Orioles, Giants and White Sox at various points, and none of the above seem particularly eager to dish out a four-year deal to Cabrera.

Complicating Cabrera’s market is the availability of second-tier outfielders on the free agent market like Nori Aoki, Alex Rios and Colby Rasmus. There are also bigger names available via trade, like Justin Upton and Evan Gattis, and others like Dayan Viciedo.

Cabrera certainly would fill a need in Seattle, sliding into a corner outfield spot and potentially batting atop the order in front of Robinson Cano, Cruz and Kyle Seager.

The 30-year-old outfielder hit .301/.351/.458 with 16 home runs, 35 doubles and 73 RBIs for the Blue Jays last year. In parts of 10 big-league seasons, Cabrera has hit .286/.339/.415 with 88 homers.

-Adam Berry

What’s next on the Hot Stove?

There were plenty of big signings (see: Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez, Nelson Cruz, Russell Martin, etc.) before the Winter Meetings and a number of big names changing teams via trade, like Josh Donaldson, Jason Heyward and more.

The Winter Meetings in San Diego were a flurry of activity, too. Jon Lester, Ervin Santana, Brandon McCarthy and David Robertson are off the board, and big trade targets like Jeff Samardzija, Yoenis Cespedes and Matt Kemp have found new homes.

So, what comes next? There’s still quite a bit to be resolved.

As MLB.com’s Paul Hagen writes, many of the top available players this offseason are still, well, available. And each team has needs left to address.

That group is headlined by right-handers Max Scherzer, bound to command a massive contract, and James Shields, sure to be in demand by teams that missed out on Lester. For teams looking for a mid-level option, Edinson Volquez and Jake Peavy are still up for grabs.

Most of the top free-agent closers or late-inning relievers have yet to be scooped up, including Francisco Rodriguez, Sergio Romo, Rafael Soriano and Casey Janssen.

With Sandoval and Ramirez both claimed by Boston, Chase Headley leads the pack of available infielders. Not far behind: Jed Lowrie, Asdrubal Cabrera and Stephen Drew.

Several teams are still in need of a starting outfielder. Potential fits can be found on the open market in the form of Melky Cabrera, Alex Rios, Nori Aoki and Colby Rasmus.

And that’s not even getting into the big trade pieces still in play. Braves outfielders Justin Upton and Evan Gattis are still out there, as is Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro. The Phillies, Red Sox and Dodgers don’t seem like they’re done wheeling and dealing, and the defending World Series champion Giants have some work left to do as well.

The Marlins are looking for a first-base upgrade, the Mets are looking to ship off a veteran starter and the Orioles have a lot of big-name production to replace. That’s just to name a few.

So, Friday has been a relatively slow day on the Hot Stove front compared to the whirlwind news cycle that swept through San Diego earlier this week, but there’s still much to look forward to.

-Adam Berry

Padres still in on Justin Upton?

The Padres made one of the biggest splashes at the Winter Meetings in San Diego, pulling off a trade for former Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp. But they’re not done acquiring bats, as MLB.com’s Corey Brock writes. And their next move could be another big one.

That obviously would be a huge offensive upgrade for the Padres, who finished last in the Majors in 2014 in average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. By pursuing big names like Kemp, Pablo Sandoval, Yasmany Tomas and now Upton, it’s clear the Padres have made bolstering their lineup a top priority.

Upton is under team control for one more year, and he’s set to make $14.5 million next season. With Kemp slotted in one corner-outfield spot, Upton would fit nicely in the other corner.

The 27-year-old Silver Slugger Award winner hit .270/.342/.491 with 29 home runs and 102 RBIs last season. By comparison, Padres right fielders hit .228/.291/.339 with nine home runs last season.

All of the Padres’ outfielders last year combined to hit .234/.307/.347 with 29 homers. So, yes, Upton on his own matched the home run total of the entire Padres outfield.

If San Diego can pull off a deal for Upton, the club would be left with far too many outfielders for three positions, necessitating at least one trade.

Carlos Quentin might be the easiest to move, as he could be useful to American League teams looking for a designated hitter. The Padres also could try to trade Seth Smith, who’s signed to a two-year, $13 million extension and coming off a career year.

Other options include center fielders Will Venable and Cameron Maybin. Venable struggled to a .224/.288/.325 batting line last year, however, and Maybin has played on 109 games the last two years combined.

-Adam Berry

Hawkins to retire after next season

Rockies closer LaTroy Hawkins will play his 21st and final season in the Majors next year.

Hawkins, who turns 42 on Dec. 21, made the announcement on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show Friday morning. This graphic from MLB Network runs down a number of Hawkins’ more impressive accomplishments.

He’s made 1,000 career appearances, the 16th-most of all time. A seventh-round Draft pick in 1991, Hawkins has pitched in parts of 20 big-league seasons for 10 different teams: the Twins, Cubs, Giants, Orioles, Rockies, Yankees, Astros, Brewers, Angels and Mets. He’s the only active pitcher with at least 100 saves (124, to be specific) and at least 75 starts (98).

The right-hander is still an effective pitcher at the end of his lengthy career. Hawkins went 4-3 with a 3.31 ERA — 29 percent above the league-average adjusted ERA — in 54 1/3 innings for the Rockies last season. Hawkins is slated to make $2.25 million next season.

Overall, Hawkins is 72-93 with a 4.33 career ERA in 1,428 2/3 innings.

-Adam Berry

D-backs, Red Sox reportedly have Miley deal in place

With Jon Lester headed to the Cubs and the rest of the pitching market starting to take shape, word had been spreading all day Wednesday about a potential trade involving D-backs lefty Wade Miley.

It appears Arizona found a trade partner, as FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted Wednesday night that the D-backs have agreed in principle to a trade that would send Miley to the Red Sox in exchange for right-handers Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa plus another Minor League player.

A baseball source told MLB.com that there are still some things to be worked out before such a trade goes through, however, and D-backs GM Dave Stewart denied a deal was completed to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

Such a trade would certainly make sense for Boston, however.

The Sox lost out on the Lester sweepstakes, but picking up Miley gives them a reliable option for their rotation, which heading into the Winter Meetings consisted of only Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly, neither a lock to throw 200 innings.

Miley, 28, is coming off a down year in which he went 8-12 with a 4.34 ERA, but he still managed to throw 201 1/3 innings for the D-backs — and his fielding-independent numbers were right in line with his 2013 performance, which yielded a more impressive-looking 10-10 record and 3.55 ERA in 202 2/3 innings.

Miley was a National League All-Star and Rookie of the Year runner-up in 2012, when he finished 16-11 with a 3.33 ERA in 194 2/3 innings. He is under team control for three more seasons.

De La Rosa, 25, went 4-8 with a 4.43 ERA in 19 appearances (18 starts) for the Red Sox last year but put together a 3.25 ERA over eight seasons in the Minors.

Webster, who turns 25 in March, has compiled a 6-5 record and 6.25 ERA in 19 appearances (18 starts) for the Red Sox the last two years.

The Sox entered the offseason with a lot of depth in terms of young pitching, which would enable them to make this kind of deal. They still feature a lot of depth on the position-player side, which presumably will be used at some point to bolster the rest of their rotation.

-Adam Berry

Reports: Marlins acquire Dee Gordon from Dodgers

Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi made it perfectly clear Tuesday they were “not dangling” Dee Gordon. Zaidi went so far as to say about Gordon, “He is our second baseman.”

Clearly the Dodgers’ stance changed, as multiple reports emerged Wednesday evening that the Marlins had acquired Gordon from the Dodgers. ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that left-hander Andrew Heaney would head to Los Angeles in the deal and added that right-hander Dan Haren’s name also has come up in those trade talks.

Curiously, Haren has said he will consider retiring if he’s traded to a team outside Los Angeles, and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets that Haren hasn’t changed his stance on that issue.

Gordon, 26, is coming off a breakout season in which he made the National League All-Star team, hitting .289/.326/.378 with 12 triples and 64 stolen bases while playing second base.

Gordon would be an upgrade at second base for the Marlins, currently projected to go with Donovan Solano, Enrique Hernandez or Derek Dietrich at the position.

Heaney is currently ranked as the Marlins’ No. 1 prospect. The 23-year-old lefty struggled to a 5.83 ERA in seven Major League appearances last year, but he put together a 2.77 ERA with 262 strikeouts in 259 2/3 innings in the Minors.

-Adam Berry

Report: Giants getting ‘aggressive’ with Headley

The Giants will enter the Winter Meetings in San Diego with three clear needs: a starting pitcher, a left fielder and a third baseman. With former Giant Pablo Sandoval off the board and Hanley Ramirez joining him with the Red Sox, it appears San Francisco is turning its attention toward the next-best free-agent option at third.

That’d be Chase Headley, the former Padres and Yankees third baseman.

According to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, the Giants are “turning aggressive” in their pursuit of Headley.

Rosenthal notes that it’s “unclear” how that relates to the Giants’ well-documented interest in free-agent lefty starter Jon Lester but categorizes the Giants as having a “solid interest” in Headley regardless.

Headley would certainly fit the bill for the Giants. He turns 31 in May, and he has spent the majority of his career in the National League West with the Padres. He won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger in 2012, when he finished fifth in the NL MVP voting.

Headley has never been able to match his performance that season, though he still put up a solid .243/.328/.372 batting line with 13 home runs and 49 RBIs in 135 games last year. In 45 career games at AT&T Park, Headley has hit .254/.330/.391 with four homers.

Headley reportedly has a four-year offer in hand worth about $65 million, though it’s unclear from whom that proposal came. The Marlins have been linked to Headley as well.

Right now, the Giants’ top third-base option is utility man Joaquin Arias.

-Adam Berry

Padres discussing Matt Kemp deal, per reports

There has been rampant speculation this offseason about the Dodgers’ attempts to trade one of their well-paid outfielders. New president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman even confirmed at the General Managers Meetings that was “most likely the best course of action” for Los Angeles.

At this point, all signs continue to point toward the Dodgers trying to deal Matt Kemp.

FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal tweeted Thursday evening that the Dodgers have been discussing a trade that would send Kemp to the Padres in exchange for a package likely headlined by catcher Yasmani Grandal, with Los Angeles also absorbing some of Kemp’s contract in the deal.

Rosenthal noted that the Dodgers were discussing Kemp with other teams, too, so it’s not as if the Padres are currently the favorites to land him. That’s just one of the deals being discussed involving Kemp.

MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reported that the Dodgers “seem determined” to move Kemp, Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford — but not Yasiel Puig.

Kemp is owed $107 million over the next five years, but he’s coming off a solid year and would have to be considered one of the most talented hitters available via free agency or the trade market. Kemp, who turned 30 in September, hit .287/.346/.506 with 25 homers and 89 RBIs in 150 games for the Dodgers last year.

ESPN’s Buster Olney recently tweeted that the Padres were looking for hitters able to help them “immediately” contend for the National League West title. That’s no small feat with the Dodgers and Giants in the division, but Kemp would be an interesting start.

In other Dodgers outfielder news, Ethier said Thursday he plans to win a starting job with the Dodgers this spring, and he has not asked to be traded.

-Adam Berry

Report: Headley receives four-year offer

A number of the top free-agent hitters have already found new homes this offseason, including third basemen Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, both of whom signed with the Red Sox. As a result, it appears the Hot Stove market may be heating up for Chase Headley.

Interested clubs are being told the free agent third baseman has received a four-year contract offer worth about $65 million, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan, though the report doesn’t specify which team made the offer.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported on Thursday that the Marlins are interested in Headley, who could play third base while Miami moves Casey McGehee to first base.

The Marlins reportedly considered lefty-swinging first baseman Adam LaRoche before he signed with the White Sox, so their interest in the switch-hitting Headley as additional lineup support around Giancarlo Stanton makes sense.

Headley, who will turn 31 in May, hit .243/.328/.372 with 13 home runs and 49 RBIs for the Padres and Yankees last year. His numbers were significantly better after the trade to New York, where he hit .262/.371/.398 in 58 games.

Most reports have linked Headley to the Yankees or the Giants, with New York needing a more reliable option than Alex Rodriguez and San Francisco searching for someone to replace Sandoval. In a column for Sports on Earth, MLB.com columnist Anthony Castrovince boldly predicted Headley would sign with the Dodgers.

-Adam Berry

Manuel not interested in O’s hitting coach job

The Orioles contacted Charlie Manuel about their hitting coach opening, but the former Indians and Phillies manager wasn’t interested, according to sources.

Manuel, who turns 71 next month, has long had a reputation as a hitting guru. In 1999, when he was hitting coach for the Tribe, Cleveland scored a franchise-record 1,009 runs, the first team since the 1950 Red Sox and just the seventh in history to reach quadruple digits.

The winningest manager in Phillies history, he is now a senior advisor to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. He was originally hired by the Phillies in 2003 as a Major and Minor League hitting instructor.

The Orioles are looking for a replacement for Jim Presley, who was reassigned at the end of last season.

-Paul Hagen

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 753 other followers