- Mike Napoli and Angel Pagan were the biggest names of the day Monday, with Napoli agreeing to play first base for the Red Sox and Pagan reportedly preparing to re-sign with the Giants. This could have a potential trickle-down effect on Adam LaRoche‘s free agent negotiations and the Phillies’ search for outfield help.
- There has been talk for much of the offseason about the Rays potentially dealing a starter, and chatter has heated up over the last few days about James Shields heading to the Nationals, who are searching for a fifth starter.
- Cleveland is open to trading shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, but Jordan Bastian has some interesting details here on the provisions in Cabrera’s no-trade clause.
- The Dodgers are looking at Nate Schierholtz, Ken Gurnick reports.
- Adam McCalvy says there is mutual interest between the Brewers and right-hander Ryan Dempster, but it remains to be seen if the teams can come together on an agreement for a contract.
- The Angels are still searching for bullpen help.
- The Yankees are reportedly doing their best to bring back some of their prominent free agent targets and want to do so before the upcoming Winter Meetings. According to multiple reports, the club is close to working out a deal with left-hander Andy Pettitte, and talks with closer Mariano Rivera have also heated up. As for outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, there are conflicting reports about the progress of his potential deal, but both parties have expressed interest in the past of getting it done.
- Sticking to the AL East, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reported that the Red Sox and Royals have discussed a potential (and surprising) blockbuster deal that would send Jon Lester to Kansas City for top Royals outfield prospect Wil Myers.
- If Ryan Madson reverts to old form after Tommy John surgery, it could mean good things for the Angels, who are close to signing him to a one-year contract, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez has confirmed, following an initial report from CBSSports.com. Madson was born and raised in Southern California, currently lives in Temecula, Calif., and rehabbed from surgery in Anaheim under the watch of Angels doctors.
- The Marlins already have one great power hitter in Giancarlo Stanton, but they’re looking to add another this offseason. To do this, they’re taking a closer look at their home ballpark and the impact it has on the long ball. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro takes a closer look here.
- The Padres are on the lookout for starting pitching, and innings-eaters like Joe Blanton and Shaun Marcum could be at the top of that wish list.
According to multiple web reports Tuesday morning, the Yankees are nearing deals with a few prominent free agents, with hopes of finalizing contracts before the upcoming Winter Meetings.
ESPN the Magazine’s Buster Olney reported that left-hander Andy Pettitte, who is looking to continue his comeback career that began when he re-joined the club midway through the 2012 season, is close to announcing he’ll return to the Yankees next year and is expected to soon finish a deal.
Additionally, Joel Sherman of the New York Post and CBSSports.com‘s Jon Heyman have reported that the team expects to work out a deal with closer Mariano Rivera by the end of the week. Japan’s Nikkan Sports has also written that Ichiro Suzuki, who came to New York this year in a Trade Deadline deal, is set to agree to a 1-year, $5 million deal, though Newsday has refuted the report.
Pettitte, 40, was effective in 12 starts (5-4, 2.87 ERA) last year though his season was limited by a fractured left ankle suffered in late June. Suzuki, too, was revitalized after coming to New York in July — batting .322 and driving in 27 runs in 67 games.
Rivera is coming off a season that was shortened after he tore his right ACL.
Having recently re-signed pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to a $15 million contract, the Yankees could now turn their attention to free agent catcher Russell Martin.
– Joey Nowak
The non-waiver Trade Deadline has come and gone, and the final day was filled with action. Here are a few highlights:
- The Phillies shipped out two of their starting outfielders, sending Shane Victorino to Los Angeles and Hunter Pence to San Francisco in an attempt to bolster the club’s depth for the future. The Giants gave up outfielder Nate Schierholtz and a pair of prospects in their deal, while the Dodgers parted with reliever Josh Lindblom and Minor League pitcher Ethan Martin.
- Not to be outdone by their NL East rival, the Marlins also made big moves Tuesday afternoon, dealing reliever Edward Mujica to the Cardinals and Gaby Sanchez to the Pirates. Mujica has been a late-inning setup man out of the bullpen, while Sanchez was sent down to Triple-A New Orleans this year after he was the Marlins’ Opening Day first baseman for three seasons. Since he was optioned to New Orleans, he has hit .302 with five home runs and 18 RBIs.
- One of the biggest names of the last few weeks was Cubs starter Ryan Dempster, who was also one of the first to be considered on the move when there were talks of him heading to Atlanta. Once that fell apart, things quieted down for a few days before the Rangers swooped in hours before the deadline and made a deal. The Yankees and Dodgers were two other clubs close to landing the right-hander, who joins Reed Johnson, Geovany Soto and Paul Maholm as Cubs who were shipped out in the final two days before the Deadline. He’ll be reunited with Soto in Texas.
- Instead of making a blockbuster move in the waning hours, the Yankees made a small deal to shore up their infield depth in the wake of A-Rod’s injury and dealt a reliever who wouldn’t be needed once the club activates Joba Chamberlain.
- A Cincinnati bullpen that was already one of the best in baseball got a little bit better with the addition of Jonathan Broxton.
The Phillies aren’t done yet.
Shortly after dealing outfielder Shane Victorino to the Dodgers, it sounds like another Philadelphia outfielder — this time, Hunter Pence — is also heading west.
According to multiple reports, talks between the Phillies and Giants had been heating up this afternoon. According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, a deal is now just about finished. MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki also says the deal is close, and CBS’ Danny Knobler reports that it’s minor league catcher Tommy Joseph heading to Philadelphia in exchange. Giants right fielder Nate Schierholtz is another player who could possibly be involved in the swap.
Pence came over to Philadelphia from Houston in a Trade Deadline deal last year and hit .324 in the final 54 games for the Phillies. He’s hit .271 with 17 homers and 59 RBIs for the last-place Phillies this season.
Joseph, the Giants’ second-round pick (55th overall) in the 2009 Draft and No. 5 prospect, according to MLB.com Prospect Watch, has hit .260 with eight homers and 38 RBIs in 80 games for Double-A Richmond this year. He was the starting catcher for the U.S. team in this year’s Futures Game in Kansas City, going 1-for-1 with a walk, a run and an RBI.
When all is said and done, the Phillies outfield could be awfully depleted by their game tonight against Washington. With Joe Blanton, Juan Pierre — and perhaps even Cliff Lee — still possible trade targets, there still may be more action before the Deadline hits.
– Joey Nowak
Shane Victorino, one of many Phillies whose name has been floating around this week, is close to be shipped out west to Los Angeles, according to multiple reports on Tuesday morning.
ESPN’s Jayson Stark tweeted that the two teams are close to finishing a deal that would send reliever Josh Lindblom and another player to Philadelphia for Victorino, who would fill L.A.’s need for a leadoff hitter. MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki has also confirmed that report.
If that’s the case, as FOX’s Ken Rosenthal writes, it would likely take the Dodgers out of the running for Chicago’s Alfonso Soriano.
In his second season with the Dodgers, Lindblom has 43 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings out of the bullpen, with a 3.02 ERA. Victorino, a two-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glover, was an integral part of the Phillies’ 2008 World Series club and has three times in his career stolen at least 34 bases in a season and twice score more than 100 runs.
– Joey Nowak
- Justin Morneau has been a cornerstone in Minnesota for almost a decade, but the Twins are willing to part ways. FOX’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that Minnesota wants a Major League-ready starting pitcher, and negotiations would require working out the remaining $19 million on Morneau’s salary. The Blue Jays, Dodgers and Giants are reportedly interested.
- Cliff Lee is on the block, Shane Victorino’s name is floating around and Hunter Pence also seems to be a trade candidate. Hardly anyone in Philadelphia is untouchable these days, with the Giants inquiring about Pence, says CBS’ Jon Heyman.
- As dismal as the Rockies have been this season, they’ve had a couple reliable bullpen pieces that teams have their eye on as the Deadline nears. Rafael Betancourt, a veteran with plenty of late-inning experience, is one of them. The Denver Post’s Troy Renck reports the A’s, Braves, Blue Jays, Rangers and Angels could all be potential suitors. Lefty Matt Reynolds is also in the mix.
- The Indians have faded behind the White Sox and Tigers in the AL Central race, and that means they’ll be listening to calls about closer Chris Perez and outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.
- The Pirates are one of the most unlikely stories in baseball this year, over-exceeding even the wildest expectations. But Kevin Correia, relegated to the bullpen recently, tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review he wants out.
– Joey Nowak
MIAMI — If Sunday was an audition, Josh Johnson’s performance didn’t win over the critics.
After seeing six walks in five innings by Johnson, scouts and front office personnel are deciding whether to meet Miami’s high trade demands.
Representatives from roughly 15 teams were at Marlins Park on Sunday afternoon, watching the 28-year-old issue a season-high six walks while stiking out four in five innings.
Johnson minimized damage, allowing two runs on two hits. In terms of pure stuff, the 95-pitch outing was not overwhelming.
That could be good or bad news for Marlins fans hopeful Johnson remains with the club after Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline passes.
The good news for Miami fans hoping JJ will stay is, other teams may be backing away from trade talks.
Conversely, if JJ stays, more is expected from the two-time All-Star.
The Marlins are listening to teams interested in their ace. But Miami is seeking a large haul — at least four players, including a top prospect or two. If such a package isn’t presented, look for JJ to remain with the team that Drafted him in 2002.
The Rangers were lukewarm before Sunday, and they saw nothing to change their mind. The Blue Jays are in the mix, as are the Red Sox.
Now, the Braves are in the conversation, but would the Marlins deal with their division rival? It would depend on what’s offered in return.
Barring being blown out of the water, the Marlins probably won’t find a match with Atlanta.
Some will say, Miami traded Dan Uggla to the Braves two years ago. But circumstances were different, because Uggla turned down a four-year, $48 million offer from the Marlins then. He was entering his final season of arbitration, and the club wanted to get something, rather then watch Uggla test the market.
JJ is signed through 2013 as he will make $13.75 million next year.
Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez, obviously, knows Johnson well. He managed him with the Marlins.
While the right-hander had less-than-spectacular stuff on Sunday, on July 23, Johnson beat the Braves. On that night, his stuff was electric, nine strikeouts with one hit allowed in six scoreless innings.
Johnson left that game due to a small cut at the nail of his right middle finger.
Perhaps the finger was an issue on Sunday against the Padres.
Or it may be a case of Johnson still searching for consistency. In 2011, he missed a majority of the season because of right shoulder inflammation.
While he’s been healthy this year, he hasn’t dominated like in the past. Before being hurt in ’11, Johnson was 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA. And in 2010, he won the NL ERA crown with a 2.30, going 11-6 in 28 starts.
JJ is next scheduled to start on Friday at Washington.
Until the trade deadline passes on Tuesday, there will likely remain speculation that Johnson’s outing on Sunday was his last one with the Marlins.
– Joe Frisaro
Cliff Lee may soon be involved in yet another significant summer trade. ESPN.com’s Buster Olney and the New York Post’s Joel Sherman have reported Monday that the Philadelphia southpaw is in play, and both writers agree that the Rangers are a logical fit.
Olney names third baseman Mike Olt — Texas’ No. 3 prospect — as a possible Rangers trade chip.
The Phillies may be more inclined now to deal Lee than they previously were, since the club has locked up Cole Hamels with an extension, and also since Philadelphia is all but out of contention in the NL East after a most disappointing season.
Texas, where Lee pitched for the latter stages of the 2010 season, is in desperate need of a starter. And, as Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal wrote last week, the Rangers are one of eight teams with whom Lee cannot block a trade.
The three-time All-Star and 2008 AL Cy Young winner is 1-6 with a 3.95 ERA, after having endured a bizarre season that did not see him win his first ballgame until his 14th start of the year, on July 4.
– Joey Nowak
Late last night, Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan tweeted that the Red Sox have been calling around trying to shop Josh Beckett, but that no deal was imminent. But it looks like the team is, indeed, actively talking about moving the three-time All-Star.
A deal for Beckett could soon gain steam, according to ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes, who wrote Monday morning that the Red Sox are actively “trying to dump him.”
Beckett is a 10/5 player, so he would have the right to say no to any deal. Texas and Atlanta, two teams who have not been shy about their desire to add starting pitching, could be possibly landing places for the right-hander, who is 5-9 with a 4.57 ERA in 17 starts this season. Beckett is slated to pitch against Detroit’s Justin Verlander on Tuesday at Fenway Park.
Boston general manager Ben Cherington said on Boston sports radio station WEEI that the team’s goal is to improve the rotation, and shipping Beckett out may not be the right solution. Potential starting pitching additions for the Red Sox, though, could include Matt Garza, Josh Johnson or James Shields, according to Edes’ report.
– Joey Nowak