Free-agent left-hander Scott Kazmir is nearing a two-year deal with the A’s, according to multiple reports.
Kazmir, who turns 30 in January, experienced a rebirth this past season with the Indians, going 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA over 29 starts after missing all of 2012. It was far and away his best season since his 2008 All-Star campaign with the Rays.
Kazmir was drafted No. 15 overall by the Mets in 2002 and made two All-Star appearances with the Rays before being traded in 2009 from Tampa Bay to the Angels. His stint there never lived up to the hype due to injuries and ineffectiveness and he was out of baseball before Cleveland took a chance on him last offseason.
- Cash Kruth
The Mariners are close to bringing infielder Willie Bloomquist back to Seattle, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The 36-year-old Bloomquist has batted .300 in each of the last two years with the D-backs in a part-time role while playing all over the infield. He should be a valuable utilityman and veteran presence for young Mariners infielders Nick Franklin, Brad Miller and Kyle Seager.
Bloomquist began his career with the Mariners, being drafted by the club in the third round of the 1999 Draft and reaching Seattle in 2002. He played for the Mariners from 2002-2008 and also has played for the Royals and Reds. He is a .271 career hitter over 12 Major League seasons.
- Cash Kruth
The Blue Jays have agreed a two-year, $8-million deal with free-agent catcher Dioner Navarro, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
The deal is pending a physical, per Rosenthal.
Navarro, who turns 30 in February, is coming off one of his best seasons. Navarro hit a career-high 13 home runs while batting .300/.365/492 in 89 games in a backup role with the Cubs.
Navarro has played 10 years in the Majors, posting a career .251/.313/.371 line. He played five years with the Rays, where he was an All-Star in 2008, and also has been with the Yankees, Dodgers and Reds.
As Rosenthal mentions, Navarro’s signing would give the Jays four catchers on their 40-man roster, possibly leading to a trade of incumbent J.P. Arencibia.
- Cash Kruth
The Pirates are close to acquiring catcher Chris Stewart from the Yankees, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
The Yankees will receive cash considerations or a player to be named later, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.
Stewart, who turns 32 in February, posted a .211/.293/.272 line in 109 games for the Yankees last season. He became expendable with New York’s signing of catcher Brian McCann in November.
- Cash Kruth
There wasn’t a whole lot of Hot Stove chatter on Saturday, though a few interesting nuggets appeared as teams continue to look to build their best rosters.
- The Royals appear serious in their pursuit of free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, according to Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star. One Royals official told Dutton of Beltran: “We’d love to have him in. One thing about Carlos Beltran is he’s a money player. He’s an RBI guy. He produces.”
- The Mets are scheduled to meet with free-agent right-hander Bronson Arroyo at his home this upcoming week, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com
- Free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal has been contacted by the Red Sox, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, Pirates and Rockies, according to ESPNDeportes.com. Here’s Rubin’s writeup for ESPN New York in English.
- Cash Kruth
One rumored deal overtook the Hot Stove on Wednesday evening, when free-agent right-hander Ricky Nolasco reportedly agreed to a contract with the Twins, according to multiple reports.
According to Yahoo Sports, the contract is a four-year deal worth $49 million with a club option for 2018. The option is worth $13 million and can vest into a player option based on innings pitched in 2016-17.
Nolasco, 30, was one of the top free-agent starting pitchers on this year’s market. He is 89-75 with a 4.37 career ERA in 229 games (212 starts) over an eight-year career that was spent with the Marlins for all but the second half of last season after being traded to the Dodgers.
The other big news of the day were the first public comments from Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun since his 65-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs in July.
Braun talked to media following a food drive outside Miller Park, but did not get into any specifics or details about his violation of Major League Baseball’s drug policy.
“I wish I had the ability to go back and change things and do things a lot differently,” Braun said. “Unfortunately, I can’t do that. All I can do is move on, try to do everything in my power to earn people’s trust and respect and support. I don’t anticipate winning back everybody’s support, but I certainly intend to do everything in my power to do that.
“I won’t stop trying.”
Other news and notes from Wednesday around baseball:
- The Reds resigned reliever Manny Parra to a two-year, $5.5-million deal.
- Veteran left-hander Ted Lilly is evaluating retirement.
- MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby writes the Yankees won’t wait on Alex Rodriguez (appeal) and Robinson Cano (free agent) to make roster moves.
- Earlier in this space, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon opined on the Reds’ reported interest in free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltan.
- Royals left-hander Noel Arguelles cleared waivers and was out-righted to Triple-A Omaha.
- Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said his club has had “several conversations” about potential moves heading into the Winter Meetings.
- Former pitcher and war veteran Lou Brissie died. He was 89.
- The Rays unveiled their Spring Training schedule.
- Toronto’s Brett Lawrie, Pittsburgh’s Russell Martin, Seattle’s Michael Saunders, Cincinnati’s Joey Votto and free agent Justin Morneau are finalists for the James “Tip” O’Neill Award, which is given out annually to the Canadian player judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to baseball’s highest ideals.
- Orioles directer of player development Brian Graham will be honored at the Winter Meetings with the Sheldon “Chief” Bender Award. The honor is presented to an individual with distinguished service who has been instrumental in player development.
- Cash Kruth
The Twins have signed right-hander Ricky Nolasco, according to MLB Daily Dish, though terms and length of the deal have not yet been reported.
Nolasco, 30, was one of the top starting pitchers available on the free-agent market after going 8-3 with a 3.52 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) with the Dodgers after a summer trade from Miami.
Nolasco is 89-75 with a 4.37 career ERA in 229 games (212 starts) over an eight-year career that was spent with the Marlins for all but the second half of last season.
The Hot Stove was relatively quiet Sunday after a busy Saturday.
The biggest news was that the Dodgers reached a one-year deal with right-hander Dan Haren, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
The deal is for $10 million with a 2015 option that vests if Haren throws 180 innings.
Haren is a three-time All-Star but has dealt with injury issues in his 11-year career. He was 10-14 with a 4.67 ERA last year with the Nationals after spending the previous three years with the Angels.
There also was a rumor regarding the Blue Jays having interest in Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija. Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos was surprised at the rumor too.
“You know what, I just saw that [rumor], too,” Anthropoulos told MLB Radio. “I’m in the office [Sunday] just going through some things. I’m going to try to be a little more candid than I may have been in the past. I won’t comment on specific rumors and things like that but I will say that we’re definitely exploring starters with teams. But also, just like a lot of stuff that’s out there that is false, we have not made an offer to anybody with respect to a starter. So if there is something out there that [says] we’ve actually made an offer to someone for a starter, that is not accurate. It doesn’t mean we’re not inquiring.”
- Cash Kruth
The Hot Stove burned quite a bit on Friday, as a handful of deals went down throughout Major League Baseball.
The biggest was a swap between the Cardinals and Angels that sent third baseman David Freese and right-handed reliever Fernando Salas to Anaheim for center fielder Peter Bourjos and outfield prospect Randal Grichuk.
In New York, the Mets addressed their outfield situation by signing outfielder Chris Young to a one-year deal. The contract is pending a physical, which Young will undergo next week.
Other news and notes from across the league:
- Shortstop Jhonny Peralta has received multiple four-year offers, according to Peter Gammons.
- The Mets remain interested in outfielder Nelson Cruz, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
- Chris Capuano and Gavin Floyd interest the Twins, reports Mike Beradino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
- Although the Yankees are still interested in retaining second baseman Robinson Cano, the top free agent on the market, they are still addressing other needs are engaged with five or six other free agents, general manager Brian Cashman said. Here’s a breakdown of who and what the Yankees are looking at.
- News within this Rays’ notebook: Tampa Bay is expected to bring back all of its coaching staff, as well as catcher Jose Molina, who is reportedly close to a deal to remain with the Rays.
- Blue Jays reliever Sergio Santos is hopeful his injuries are in the past. The 30-year-old has appeared in just 35 games in the last two years since being acquired from the White Sox.
- MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli answers fans’ questions in her Inbox, including inquiries about the rotation.
- MLB.com’s Jason Beck writes the Tigers still need to address their rotation despite shredding payroll in the Prince Fielder/Ian Kinsler deal.
- Former Royal Mike Sweeney helped the Royals land left-hander Jason Vargas.
- Pitching prospect Alex Meyer is rising in the Twins organization.
- The Indians released their Spring Training schedule.
- The Rangers are searching for another big bat to join Fielder, who will be introduced at a Monday afternoon press conference.
- The Angels have to look elsewhere for pitching help with Vargas now in Kansas City.
- A’s prospect Jeremy Barfield is moving from the outfield to the mound.
- Former hitting coach Jim Eppard has returned to the Angels as a Minor League hitting instructor. The Angels also hired Nick Francona, Terry’s son, as a coordinator of Major League intelligence, a role in which he will help Major League player information coach Rick Eckstein in helping to coordinate and build advanced scouting plans for each series
- The Mariners are looking at free-agent closers Brian Wilson and Grant Balfour, according to FoxSports’ Ken Rosenthal.
- Angels GM Jerry DiPoto told MLB Network Radio that Ernesto Frieri will remain the team’s closer, tweets Mel Antonen.
- The Braves hired former Indians and Rangers general manager John Hart as a senior advisor in the baseball-operations department.
- MLB.com’s Bill Ladson caught up with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo for a Q&A. Among the issues discussed are the club’s organizational depth and potential roster moves.
- New Marlins hitting coach Frank Menechino plans to stress a strong mental approach at the plate.
- Braves outfielder Joey Terdoslavich is working hard in winter ball, while second-base prospect Tommy La Stella is impressing in the Arizona Fall League.
- Ron Darling agreed to a multi-year contract extension to remain part of SNY’s Mets broadcast team.
- The Cubs finalized their 2014 coaching staff, highlighted by the hiring of former Major Leaguer Bill Mueller as hitting coach.
- Pittsburgh’s Andrew Lambo, an outfielder last season, is honing his defensive skills at first base in Venezuela.
- Cubs prospect Jeimer Candelario, a 19-year-old switch-hitting infielder, has a bright future.
- MLB.com’s Chris Haft writes that the Giants will sign another starting pitcher relatively soon. The club is still talking with right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, but other options include righties Dan Haren and Bronson Arroyo.
- The Rockies officially inked right-handed reliever LaTroy Hawkins.
- The Padres announced their Spring Training schedule.
- Cash Kruth
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