Ryan Vogelsong was believed to be close to a deal with the Astros, but according to a tweet from FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, the veteran right-hander has changed course and is now in serious discussions with the Giants.
Earlier Wednesday night, MLB.com’s Chris Haft reported that the Giants and Vogelsong were maintaining contact, despite reports linking the 37-year-old elsewhere.
Vogelsong went 8-13 with an ERA of 4.00 for the Giants in 2014. He struggled in the postseason, too, with an 8.76 ERA in four appearances.
It’s not certain Vogelsong would have a guaranteed spot in the Giants’ starting rotation. But with Matt Cain (right elbow) and Tim Hudson (right ankle) dealing with injuries, Vogelsong could add some much-needed depth.
— AJ Cassavell
The Yankees were nowhere to be found earlier this offseason when top free-agent hurlers Jon Lester and Max Scherzer were available on the free-agent market. And now, according to the New York Daily News, it appears as though they’ll take the same approach with James Shields — the best free-agent pitcher still available.
“We’ll still have about the second-highest payroll and I don’t see it going any higher,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday in an interview on WPAT-AM 930. “We’ve talked a lot about whether we’d be shopping in the high-end district this winter and, outside of Andrew Miller’s signing, we’ve kind of stayed away from that stuff.”
Cashman also added: “Typically, when we’re aggressive in the winter with a lot of big-time contracts is when big contracts are coming off the books. This winter wasn’t that case.”
The Yankees starting rotation posted a 3.77 ERA last season, good enough for seventh in the American League. Given all the time their starters spent on the disabled list, that number isn’t terrible. For now, CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka would appear to headline the Yankees’ rotation, though each missed significant time last season because of injuries. Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi and Chris Capuano round out the current projected starting rotation, with Ivan Nova due back from Tommy John surgery midseason.
There’s a significant drop-off on the free-agent market after Shields, with Kyle Kendrick, Kevin Correia and Ryan Vogelsong representing the next-best starting pitching options.
— AJ Cassavell
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is still talking with other clubs regarding prized trade chip Cole Hamels, but evidently there is nothing on the immediate horizon in terms of a deal, and Hamels seems likely to start the season in Philadelphia.
“We continue to have dialogue with other clubs about making more change,” Amaro told MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki before Tuesday’s Phillies winter banquet. “I don’t know if anything is going to happen. Nothing is really imminent.”
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Amaro doesn’t feel any pressure to move Hamels. He even said he expects to see Hamels on the mound for Opening Day at Citizens Bank Park.
“I think Cole Hamels is going to be in our uniform, frankly,” Amaro told the Inquirer. “I don’t really foresee him being moved. It is possible, because we’re literally keeping our minds and eyes and ears open on every player that we have on our roster. That said, he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball. And so, if we were to move him, we’re going to have to get some of the best prospects in baseball back.”
The Padres, Red Sox and Cardinals are among the teams rumored to be interested in Hamels, who is scheduled to make $23.5 million per year over the next four years — with a $20 million team option for a fifth.
Pat Gillick, the team’s interim president, echoed Amaro’s sentiment about a Hamels trade not being likely any time soon. But Gillick seemed slightly more optimistic that something could get done before Opening Day.
“If somebody is interested in a top-of-the-line pitcher I think [Hamels] would be somebody you’d have to consider,” Gillick told MLB.com. “It’s funny. In this game, things change. People are not in the mood to do something, then they go to Spring Training and all of a sudden … they realize they want to be competitive and want to do something. A lot of this maybe will shake out in Spring Training. I’d look for probably more interest in a lot of our players come Spring Training.”
— AJ Cassavell
Right-hander Josh Johnson could be on the verge of signing an incentive-laden one-year deal with the Padres, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan. Johnson missed the entire 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April, and the Padres declined his $4 million option this offseason.
According to Passan, a deal with Johnson would likely be driven by incentives, based on how many starts the injury-riddled 30-year-old makes in 2015. Since making back-to-back National League All-Star teams with the Marlins in ’10-11, Johnson has averaged just 14 starts per year.
Signing Johnson would be another attempt by the Padres to shore up the back end of their rotation. With Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy at the top — and one of the league’s best bullpens to go along with them — the Padres one minor weak spot on the staff would seem to be quality rotation depth. They also signed former Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million earlier this week.
The Padres signed Johnson to an $8 million contract last offseason, but Johnson never made a start because of the elbow trouble. Given his recent injury history (shoulder in 2012, elbow and triceps in ’13 and elbow again in ’14) an incentive-laden deal seems to make the most sense.
The Orioles and free-agent reliever Wesley Wright have reportedly agreed to a one-year deal, according to MASN’s Roch Kubatko. Wright spent the entire 2014 season with the Cubs, where he posted a 3.17 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP in 58 appearances. The Orioles have not yet confirmed the deal.
Wright figures to fit into the Baltimore bullpen as a left-handed specialist. Lefty hitters have combined for a .646 OPS against Wright during his seven big league seasons, while righties have posted an .833 mark.
In 2014, lefties actually had a higher batting average against Wright, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. The 29-year-old southpaw faced 85 left-handed hitters in ’14, and he didn’t allow an extra-base hit.
Originally drafted by the Dodgers, Wright spent his first five full seasons in the Majors with the Astros.
It’s no secret that the Padres are in the market for another bat, and according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, they could be looking into a potentially “significant trade” with Tampa Bay for 24-year-old outfielder Wil Myers.
It’s hard to gauge how serious these talks are, but Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan says there is optimism a deal gets done and that the two sides are very close. Myers certainly fits the profile of what the Padres are looking for — an outfielder with some pop who will remain under team control for the foreseeable future. Myers will be arbitration-eligible in 2017, and he won’t become a free agent until after the ’19 season.
After winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 2013, Myers struggled mightily this past season. He hit just .222/.294/.320 with six home runs in 87 games, and he missed nearly three months with a wrist injury. Myers returned to the Rays in late August and hit .213 with only five extra-base hits in 34 contests.
It’s unclear whether those poor splits were simply residual effects of the injury. But as ugly as his numbers were in 2014, Myers is only one year removed from his .293/.354/.478 season in ’13 that had many projecting him as one of the best young outfielders in the game.
Myers, once the centerpiece of the deal that sent James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City, would be the Padres’ second major outfield acquisition this offseason. They landed Matt Kemp in a deal with the Dodgers at last week’s Winter Meetings, and they’ve been linked in trade talks with Atlanta for outfielder Justin Upton — though a trade for Myers would most likely put a halt to those.
There have been no reports as to who the Padres have offered the Rays for Myers, but it’s a safe bet that a 24-year-old outfielder with lots of team control won’t come cheap. Padres top prospect Austin Hedges and No. 2 prospect Matt Wisler could be less than a year away from making contributions at the big league level and figure to be at the forefront of any team looking to make a trade with new Padres general manager A.J. Preller.
The Blue Jays have had discussions with the Astros over a trade for outfielder Dexter Fowler, FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi reported Tuesday night. Fowler has a year remaining before he hits free agency, and the Blue Jays are in search of outfield help with both Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus possibly headed elsewhere this offseason.
Fowler also makes sense in Toronto as a switch-hitter, given the Blue Jays’ right-handed heavy lineup. In the past month, Toronto has added righties Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin to a heart of the order that features right-handed sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista.
After six years in Colorado, Fowler was traded to Houston a year ago Wednesday. He hit .276/.375/.399 with the Astros in 116 games in 2014, while battling an intercostal strain that landed him on the DL for a month and a half.
Fowler made $7.35 million last season. He’s entering his third year as arbitration eligible.
The Dodgers landed outfielder Chris Heisey in a trade with the Reds Tuesday night, sending right-handed pitcher Matt Magill to Cincinnati in return.
Heisey, a right-handed hitter who will turn 30 later this month, hit .222 with eight homers in 119 games for the Reds this past season. He has spent his entire Major League career (five seasons) with Cincinnati.
Magill, who turned 25 in November, struggled in 2014, posting a 5.21 ERA in 36 appearances (12 starts) for Triple-A Albuquerque. He was much better in ’13, going 6-2 with a 3.47 ERA in 18 outings for the Isotopes.
During that 2013 season, Magill earned a callup to the Dodgers, where he made six appearances, allowing 20 earned runs in 27 2/3 innings.
“We are excited to be adding a player with a power arm who has a chance to help our club next season,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said in a press release issued by the club.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, netted a significantly more proven piece in exchange for the young Magill. Heisey has recorded at least 200 at-bats in each of his first five Major League seasons for a career slash line of .247/.299/.422.
Heisey was a part of three Reds playoff teams, although he never saw much action in October, going hitless in six career postseason at-bats. Where he fits in a crowded Dodgers outfield is still to be determined.
Along with trading Heisey, the Reds made another pair of transactions Tuesday, not offering contracts to righties Logan Ondrusek and Curtis Partch for 2015.
The Yankees added left-handed pitcher Chris Capuano from the Rockies on Thursday, but they could be in the market for more arms, according to reports.
The Yankees are in talks with the Padres regarding right-hander Ian Kennedy, reports ESPN’s Jim Bowden.
Kennedy, a former first-round pick by the Yankees in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, is 8-9 on the year with a 3.66 ERA and 143 strikeouts in 135 1/3 innings. The Yankees dealt Kennedy to the Diamondbacks before the 2010 season in a three-team deal that sent Curtis Granderson to New York and Max Scherzer and Austin Jackson to Detroit.
Bowden reports third-base prospect Eric Jagielo and 19-year-old left-hander Ian Clarkin could be sent to the Padres in a deal. Both were first-round selections by the Yankees last year. CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman, however, reports that the Yankees are unwilling to give up both players for Kennedy.
The Yankees have also had discussions with the Rockies about left-handed starter Jorge De La Rosa, according to Bowden.
As of late Thursday, the Padres hadn’t had any substantial discussions regarding trading Kennedy and nothing was imminent.
As is the case with reliever Joaquin Benoit, the Padres don’t feel a need to push a deal now for Kennedy, who is under team control through 2015.
The Red Sox and former Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore have agreed to a one-year deal worth $750,000 with the potential for that contract to increase to $6 million after incentives.
Sizemore, 31, hasn’t played since 2011 because of a slew of injuries, and from 2009-11, he played in just 70 games per year. But before he was bitten by the injury bug (both knees, sports hernia, lower back, left elbow), Sizemore was a three-time All-Star, who averaged 27 home runs in his four full seasons.
Boston manager John Farrell served as the Indians’ farm director from 2001-06 — the same time Sizemore was making his rise through the club’s ranks.