The number that Robinson Cano is seeking for his newest contract continues to drop in media reports, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he and the Yankees are any closer on a deal. Yahoo!‘s Jeff Passan reports that the Yankees “have no plans” to match the nine-year, $252-million deal that Cano is looking for.
“They are not going to go to $200 million,” one baseball executive told Passan. “Period.”
According to Passan, the Yankees are sticking to their seven-year, $160-million offer with a give-or-take of about $15 million. Passan says New York remains in contention for Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, Omar Infante and Joe Nathan, among others.
Other teams mentioned as possibly suitors for Cano: Mets, Tigers, Dodgers, Angels, Nationals and Mariners.
– Joey Nowak
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Yankees and Dodgers are expected to be the most aggressive in pursuit of Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka when the posting system is finalized. Major League officials and the Japanese league are still working on details.
Sherman said executives from two clubs expect the Cubs to be in the mix as well, with one saying they will be “really aggressive.” Sherman notes that the Cubs have several impact position players (Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora) but not enough pitching.
Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer have been involved in the posting process for Japanese players before. They were with the Red Sox when they gave $51.1 million posting fee to land Daisuke Matsuzaka. If the Yankees, Dodgers, Rangers and Red Sox are in pursuit of Tanaka, it will be expensive.
The posting fees are still to be resolved. According to Sherman, MLB officials have been trying to lower the fees transferred from their teams to Japanese teams as part of the process to gain negotiating rights. The Rangers paid the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters $51.7 million posting fee to get Yu Darvish, then signed him to a six-year, $60 million contract.
MLB has a current proposal that involves a limit of $20 million, Sherman writes.
Why is Tanaka so highly regarded? Tanaka, 25, was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 28 regular season games with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, that’s why.
– Carrie Muskat
The Nationals, looking to bounce back from last season’s disappointing finish, had been quiet this offseason — until Monday. That’s when general manager Mike Rizzo announced his entry into the Hot Stove conversation by pulling off a big trade with the Tigers.
Rizzo bolstered his rotation and replaced Dan Haren by acquiring another veteran right-hander, Doug Fister, in exchange for reserve infielder Steve Lombardozzi and young left-handers Ian Krol and Robbie Ray.
Monday also was the last day for teams to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players, with the deadline looming at midnight ET. Any non-tendered player immediately becomes a free agent and can sign with any club.
Among the players reportedly cut loose were pitchers John Axford of the Cardinals, Andrew Bailey of the Red Sox, Daniel Hudson of the D-backs, Jerome Williams and Tommy Hanson of the Angels, Jeremy Hefner of the Mets and Mitchell Boggs of the Rockies; catcher J.P. Arencibia of the Blue Jays; infielders Mat Gamel of the Cubs, Justin Turner of the Mets, Elliot Johnson and Paul Janish of the Braves, Jayson Nix of the Yankees and Chris Getz of the Royals; and outfielders Sam Fuld of the Rays and Ryan Kalish of the Red Sox.
In other news from around the league:
- The A’s have added to their rotation by agreeing to a two-year deal with left-hander Scott Kazmir, who resurrected his career with the Indians this season.
- The A’s also picked up a closer, with Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and MLB Network reporting that they sent second baseman Jemile Weeks to the Orioles for Jim Johnson.
- The Blue Jays found a new starting catcher, agreeing to a two-year contract with free agent Dioner Navarro, who is coming off a strong offensive year with the Cubs.
- Speaking of catchers, the Pirates swapped backups for starter Russell Martin, acquiring defensive specialist Chris Stewart from the Yankees and designating Michael McKenry for assignment.
- The Yankees, meanwhile, announced their signing of slick-fielding shortstop Brendan Ryan to a two-year deal.
- New York also has made a one-year offer to right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, according to ESPN New York. Kuroda is deciding between retirement or playing another season in the Majors or in his native Japan.
- Free-agent outfielder Curtis Granderson could be an option for the Mets.
- Sources told The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham that free-agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is unlikely to return to the Red Sox, with Rosenthal and others mentioning the Marlins among those currently in pursuit.
- Veteran utility man Willie Bloomquist is heading back to Seattle after three years with Arizona.
– Andrew Simon
UPDATE, 4:53 P.M. PT: Williams has been non-tendered.
As of 3 p.m. PT — six hours before the deadline — Jerome Williams’ agent hadn’t heard from the Angels on whether or not they’ll tender his client a contract. It’s possible that they haven’t told him anything because it’s a no-brainer that they will, but far more likely that they simply hadn’t made up their minds just yet.
Williams represents a very interesting dilemma for the Angels.
On one hand, they need to allocate as much money as possible to address their rotation, where at least two starting pitchers are needed, and can’t afford the luxury of paying about $4 million — what Williams would get in his final season of arbitration — for a sixth starter/long reliever.
On the other, $4 million for Williams may be a bargain if he were a free agent in this year’s class, especially after seeing Scott Kazmir get two years and $22 million from the A’s. If nothing else, the Angels may be able to keep him on the roster and then trade him for something else.
Williams’ agent Larry O’Brien said he’d be “very, very surprised” if Williams were non-tendered, but he isn’t sure.
“If he isn’t worth four to five million bucks, the guys that are getting paid multi-year, guaranteed deals out there – really? Tender him and trade him,” said O’Brien, part of Full Circle Sports Management. “It kind of baffles me, but they can do whatever they want to do. I think the guy can start for a number of teams and be a fourth or fifth starter and get 32 starts and let the chips fall where they may.”
Williams seems like the only big question for the Angels prior to the 8:59 p.m. PT non-tender deadline.
Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said Monday that Kevin Jepsen will be tendered a contract, saying he “never thought it would be an assumption he wouldn’t be.” Mark Trumbo, Ernesto Frieri, David Freese and Fernando Salas are also expected to be tendered. Tommy Hanson and Chris Nelson, meanwhile, seem like locks to be non-tendered.
If Williams isn’t tendered, O’Brien sees it as an opportunity for his client to potentially get a job as a full-time starting pitcher.
“Jerome loves the Angels,” O’Brien said. “He has a house in Mission Viejo, he’d love to pitch for them. I know deep down he’d love to start. And I don’t get it. I don’t know why everybody writes that the Angels need two more starters and blah-blah-blah, and they don’t talk about Jerome Williams. Why don’t you go out and give the guy the ball for 32 starts and see how he does? I just don’t quite get why they don’t have that confidence. But it is what it is. All I can tell you is that it’s not a big concern of mine either way. I’d be very, very surprised if they don’t tender him, but that’s their call.
“We’ll just see what happens. If they tender him, great. He’ll compete for the job, and if they want to use him as a swing man or do whatever they want to do, then that’s their right. And if they don’t, then we move on. I wish him the best, I’m sure they’d wish him the best, and it’d be a blessing in disguise.”
– Alden Gonzalez
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson met Sunday with free agent outfielder Curtis Granderson, according to FOX Sports.
Granderson would fill the Mets’ obvious hole at one of their corner outfield spots, even if Citi Field’s spacious dimensions would strip him of the 40-homer power he displayed for years at Yankee Stadium. He could be out of the Mets’ price range if he is seeking a lucrative multi-year deal, but would likely come cheaper than top-of-the-line free agent outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo.
Granderson, 32, hit .229 with seven home runs in 61 games last season, missing much of the campaign with a broken finger. He hit 84 homers combined over his previous two seasons in New York.
The Hot Stove was buzzing Monday morning and afternoon, as a handful of deals went down.
The headliner was left-hander Scott Kazmir agreeing to a two-year deal with the A’s.
Kazmir, who turns 30 in January, finished the season 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA and 162 strikeouts in 158 innings for the Indians, who took a chance on the former first-round Draft pick via a Minor League deal shortly after the lefty finished a stint with the Sugar Land Skeeters in independent ball.
Before this year, Kazmir had last pitched in a Major League game in April 2011.
Other notes from Monday:
- The Blue Jays and veteran catcher Dioner Navarro agreed to a two-year contract believed to be worth $8 million.
- The Yankees sent catcher Chris Stewart to the Pirates for a player to be named later, which frees a roster space for the Yankees.
- New York also officially announced a two-year contract with infielder Brendan Ryan reportedly worth $5 million with a mutual option for 2016.
- The Tigers agreed to a one-year, $1-million deal with infielder/outfielder Don Kelly.
- The Rays, interested in a left-handed hitting first baseman, have talked with the Rangers about Mitch Moreland.
- The Yankees have made an offer to right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, according to ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand. The Yanks offered Kuroda a qualifying offer ($14.1 million), which he turned down.
- Cash Kruth
The last question for the Tigers at Monday’s nontender deadline has been answered. Utilityman Don Kelly agreed to terms on a one-year, $1 million contract, thus taking him off the potential nontender list.
Kelly confirmed the deal in a text to inquiring reporters. The Tigers announced the deal shortly thereafter.
The $1 million salary represents the first seven-figure deal for Kelly. He made $900,000 in each of the past two seasons, including this past season on what was initially a minor-league contract with a Spring Training invite he signed just before camp. He essentially had to win his roster spot back after being taken off the 40-man roster.
As the Tigers headed towards Monday’s deadline for tendering contracts to arbitration eligible players, the question was whether they’d try to do the same thing this winter. The team traditionally waits until January to wrap up deals with arbitration-eligible players, but their one-year deal with Phil Coke a week and a half ago noted a change in approach. With some players, they wanted a deal in place before approaching the offseason. Kelly fell in that category, though his salary is by far the smallest of the eight arbitration-eligible Tigers.
Kelly’s versatility is well-known, and he currently stands as a left-handed hitter on the bench of a team that has a righty-heavy lineup at the moment in the wake of the Prince Fielder trade. The one factor that could change his role is the positional shuffle around the Tigers infield and outfield, notably if fellow left-handed hitter Andy Dirks becomes the primary reserve outfielder.
The roster picture, especially in left field and third base, remains a big question, but the Tigers can keep Kelly on the roster and then take a wait-and-see approach in Spring Training. If Detroit decides he’s no longer a fit, he can be released by March 15 or thereabouts for one-sixth of his salary, or just under $167,000. If the Tigers release him at the end of camp, they would owe him $250,000. Detroit took a similar approach with Brennan Boesch a year ago.
– Jason Beck
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 Rays are looking for a first baseman and have talked to the Rangers about Mitch Moreland. A left-handed hitter, Moreland batted .232 with 23 home runs and 60 RBI last season but lost his job when the Rangers acquired Prince Fielder. Moreland is currently the Rangers leading candidate to be their designated hitter.