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.
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
The first day in December saw little Hot Stove action, yet plenty is on the horizon with the Winter Meetings in Orlando fast approaching. Here’s a quick roundup of what was happening around the baseball world on Sunday.
* Robinson Cano and the New York Yankees are roughly $80 million apart on a new contract, according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney. Cano has reportedly asked for a nine-year deal at $28 million a year, with a vesting option for a 10th year at $29 million. After previously offering the second baseman a seven-year deal worth $160 million, the Yankees upped their offer to $170 million.
* The Twins are in talks with free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski, according to the Minnesota Star-Tribune. Pierzynski was a third round draft pick of the Twins in 1994 and spent the first six years of his career with the club.
* San Diego general manager Josh Byrnes told MLB.com’s Corey Brock that the team could be done filling their off-season needs soon. “In the next week or two, there could be some activity,” Byrnes said Saturday. The team’s main attention is on finding a left-handed hitting outfielder.
- Quinn Roberts
The Winter Meetings are set to begin a week from Monday in Orlando.
Could the Padres be done filling their off-season needs before getting on a plane for Florida? Or could they be completely finished by the time they leave the Sunshine State?
“In the next week or two, there could be some activity,” Padres general manager Josh Byrnes said Saturday.
The Padres have already added a starting pitcher to their stable of arms, when they signed free agent Josh Johnson to a one-year deal worth $8 million.
Now the attention goes back to their primary off-season need, which is finding a left-handed hitter. We (sort of) know this: The team will add a bat through a trade and not free agency. And that player will likely be an outfielder.
The Padres are also looking to add a left-handed reliever to balance the bullpen.
To be sure, this could be a far different winter than the ones Byrnes has previously had in San Diego — where he made three notable trades (Mat Latos to the Reds for four players, getting Carlos Quentin from the White Sox and Andrew Cashner from the Cubs) after Dec. 17.
By then, Byrnes could essentially be finished shaping the 2014 roster. Stay tuned.
– Corey Brock