Author Archive

Indians one of the teams interested in Headley

The Indians are the latest team to express interest in third baseman Chase Headley, according to MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince, though Castrovince hasn’t confirmed whether or not the Indians have actually extended a concrete offer to Headley at this point.

The Yankees are still expected to make a significant effort to bring back Headley, while the Giants could also make a strong push to lure him to San Francisco now that Pablo Sandoval has officially departed to join the Red Sox.

The pursuit for Headley should heat up quickly now that the Red Sox have taken the top third baseman off the market and there appears to be a number of teams interested. Letting Headley slip away would leave the Yankees scrambling a bit to fill the entire left side of their infield, but the Indians and Giants have both emerged as potential landing spots for Headley, if that indeed happens.

– Paul Casella

Mariners pursuing trade for big-name outfielder

The Mariners are reportedly in trade talks for a number of top-end, right-handed outfielders, including Matt Kemp, Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Upton, according to FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi.

Seattle has expressed interest in both Kemp and Upton in the past, while the Red Sox have a surplus of outfielders that has led to speculation that Cespedes could be available this offseason. The Red Sox could be interested in Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma, though it’s unclear whether or not Seattle would be willing to part with Iwakuma in a potential Cespedes deal.

As for Upton, many expect the Braves to move him this offseason after trading away fellow outfielder Jason Heyward to the Cardinals earlier this offseason. Like Heyward, Upton is set to hit free agency following next season.

The Mariners are already on the verge of signing third baseman Kyle Seager to a seven-year, $100 million extension, just one year after signing second baseman Robinson Cano to a 10-year, $240 million contract last offseason. Their next big move could be landing one of these right-handed hitting outfielders, though it’s not clear at this point what exactly they are prepared to offer in return in any of these scenarios.

– Paul Casella

Lester to meet with Cardinals next week

The Cardinals are next up on Jon Lester’s free agency tour, as the left-hander plans to visit with the club at some point next week, according to Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com. Gammons adds that Lester could then potentially make his final decision by the end of next week.

The Cardinals already made one big splash this offseason when they traded starting pitcher Shelby Miller and pitching prospect Tyrell Jenkins to the Braves in exchange for outfielder Jason Heyward and reliever Jordan Walden. The Cardinals would obviously welcome a top-end starter to replace Miller in the rotation, but part of the reason that they pulled the trigger on the Heyward deal in the first place was that they felt comfortable enough with their pitching depth as is.

At this point, the Red Sox and Cubs remain the favorites to ultimately sign Lester, though the Cardinals have now joined the Braves, Giants, Blue Jays and Royals as other teams that have also expressed interest.

– Paul Casella

D-backs one of handful of teams in on Tomas

The Diamondbacks have “legit” interest in Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas, according to a tweet from ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick.

That makes the D-backs one of six teams that are known to be pursuing Tomas to some extent. The Phillies were the early favorites to sign him, while the Braves and Padres have made pushes of their own in recent days. The Mariners, meanwhile, are still expressing some interest and the Giants could ramp up their pursuit of Tomas now that Pablo Sandoval has departed for the Red Sox.

The 24-year-old Tomas is believed to be seeking at least a five-year deal with an average annual value of approximately $15 million.

It remains to be seen where Tomas will ultimately end up, but the D-backs appear to be the latest team to at least enter the discussion as a potential landing spot.

– Paul Casella

Tulowitzki to Yankees unlikely

It appears unlikely at this time that Troy Tulowitzki will be the one to take over for Derek Jeter in the Bronx, according to a report from Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.

This is not much of a surprise given the stance taken so far this offseason by the Yankees, who have been relatively quiet while insisting they are not pursuing any of the top-end free agents. Though Tulowitzki is obviously not a free agent, acquiring him from the Rockies would produce a similar result, as the Yankees would be on the hook for the $114 million Tulowitzki is owed over the next six seasons.

That’s a steep price for the oft-injured shortstop, despite his elite level of play when healthy. Tulowitzki is coming off a season in which he played just 91 games for the Rockies. This comes after appearing in 126 games in 2013 and just 47 in 2012.

It also doesn’t help matters that multiple reports this offseason have indicated that the Rockies do not intend to trade away their 30-year-old shortstop.

As for finding Jeter’s replacement, it continues to appear as if the Yankees will make a much smaller move such as signing Stephen Drew. Along with Tulowitzki, the Yanks have also been linked to a possible trade for Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus, though neither seems overly likely at this point.

– Paul Casella

Blue Jays could pursue trade for Bruce

The Blue Jays are reportedly viewing Reds outfielder Jay Bruce as a potential trade target, according to a tweet from FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi.

The Jays are interested in adding a left-handed bat to the middle of their lineup and Bruce’s name has apparently come up during internal discussions. Toronto’s desire to add another lefty comes as a result of losing Adam Lind earlier this offseason and switch-hitter Melky Cabrera potentially departing via free agency.

As for a potential trade, the Jays certainly have the pieces to work out a deal this offseason, whether it be with the Reds or another team entirely. After signing top free-agent catcher Russell Martin earlier this month, the Jays have already drawn interest from other teams regarding veteran backstop Dioner Navarro. Their overall pitching depth could also mean that either J.A. Happ or Marco Estrada is available, while they could even consider moving Mark Buehrle or R.A. Dickey for the right price.

It’s unclear right now what exactly the Jays would be offering the Reds, if they even decide to extend a conrete offer. It’s early in the process, but the Jays do seem intent on adding another left-handed bat and Bruce appears to be one of their targets for the time being.

– Paul Casella

Could Hamels be next for Red Sox?

It’s no secret that Cole Hamels could likely be dealt out of Philadelphia this offseason and, as it turns out, the Red Sox are the team that has had “the most serious talks” with the Phillies regarding the left-hander, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

Boston, of course, also still has an offer in to Jon Lester. With the club reportedly on the verge of signing both Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, however, the Red Sox could now be in a position to move some of their surplus pieces in a potential trade.

The Red Sox offer to Lester has been reported to be in the range of $110-120 million. The 30-year-old Hamels, meanwhile, is owed $96 million over the next four seasons, with a $24 million option for 2019.

Though Boston reportedly shot down trade offers from the Phillies earlier this offseason, the Red Sox’s recent flourish in free agency certainly changes the team’s current outlook. With Ramirez and Sandoval locked up for the foreseeable future, the Red Sox may now be willing to part with the players ultimately needed to land Hamels.

The Red Sox also need to figure out what exactly to do with Ramirez, as they are almost certainly not going to give up on 22-year-old shortstop Xander Bogaerts. That means the most likely scenario involves moving Ramirez to the outfield, where the Red Sox already have an abundance of potential starters.

Among the list of potential outfielders currently on Boston’s roster are Yoenis Cespedes, Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts, Shane Victorino, Allen Craig and Jackie Bradley Jr. The recent signings of Sandoval and Ramirez could indicate that at least one of those outfielders will be on the move at some point this winter.

Either way, it seems the Red Sox are far from done this offseason.

– Paul Casella

Mariners, Seager on the verge of $100 million extension

The Mariners are reportedly close to signing third baseman Kyle Seager to a seven-year, $100 million extension, according to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan.

Seager is coming off another impressive year in 2014 when he posted a .268/.334/.454 batting line to go along with 25 home runs and 96 RBI over 159 games. Along with reaching the 20-homer plateau for the third straight season, Seager also had a stellar year defensively en route to winning his first Gold Glove Award.

Seager, who just turned 27 years old earlier this month, would have been arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason. Instead, he is now under team control through at least 2021 and the deal reportedly also carries a club option for 2022. Passan reports that the option for an eighth season could be worth as much as $20 million, depending on performance-based incentives.

Though a bit under the radar, Seager has been steadily emerging as one of the top all-around third basemen in the Majors over the past few seasons. With this reported extension, the Mariners would have now dedicated two nine-figure contracts to infielders in as many offseasons. Seattle, of course, inked second baseman Robinson Cano to a 10-year, $240 million deal last winter.

– Paul Casella

Orioles discussing Cabrera as “fallback option”

The Orioles are reportedly viewing outfielder Melky Cabrera as a “fallback option” in the event they are unable to re-sign Nick Markakis, according to MASN’s Roch Kubatko. It appeared early this offseason as if the Orioles and Markakis were on the verge of reaching a new deal, though talks have apparently progressed rather slowly over recent weeks.

It’s still widely believed that the Orioles will ultimately bring back Markakis, but it seems as if they are at least exploring contingency plans behind the scenes.

Signing Cabrera would likely be a bit more expensive than Markakis, but he would certainly help fill the potential void. Markakis posted a .276/.342/.386 batting line this past season, while Cabrera put up a .301/.351/.458 line with the Blue Jays.

Along with Cabrera being a more expensive option, the Orioles would also need to surrender a draft pick in order to sign him due to the fact that he declined the Jays’ qualifying offer. That could become a moot point, however, as the Orioles would receive a compensatory draft pick of their own if fellow free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz departs to sign with another team.

Again, the Orioles’ priority seems to remain bringing back Markakis, but Cabrera is on the radar as a potential replacement, if it comes to that.

– Paul Casella

Giants could turn focus toward Lester

With Pablo Sandoval reportedly set to sign with the Red Sox, the Giants could take the money they had set aside for re-signing Sandoval and use it to pursue marquee free agent starter Jon Lester, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

That said, Sandoval’s expected departure obviously leaves a hole at third base the the Giants need to address. They’ve already been rumored as a potential landing spot for Cuban outfielder/third baseman Yasmany Tomas, while free agent Chase Headley is yet another option to replace Sandoval.

As for Lester, he would obviously provide the Giants with a pair of aces at the top of the rotation, pitching alongside Madison Bumgarner. Aside from Bumgarner, however, the Giants’ rotation is a bit unclear right now. Jake Peavy and Ryan Vogelsong are both free agents, Matt Cain is coming off elbow surgery, Tim Hudson will turn 40 years old next season and Tim Lincecum can’t be counted on as a consistent option at this point in his career.

Though not re-signing Sandoval certainly puts the Giants in a position to pursue Lester financially, the left-hander is already known to also be on the radar of the Cubs, Braves, Red Sox, Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Royals.

– Paul Casella

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 703 other followers