Add outfielder Grady Sizemore to the list of players the Astros have contacted.
A source told MLB.com on Tuesday the Astros had talked to the representatives for Sizemore, who hasn’t played in the Major Leagues since 2011. He underwent back surgery and knee surgery in 2011 and sat out last year while he tried to get healthy.
An All-Star with the Indians from 2006-08 with the Indians, Sizemore hasn’t played more than half a season since appearing in 106 games with Cleveland in 2009, when he hit 18 homers, drove in 64 runs and batted .248.
– Brian McTaggart
The A’s and Rockies exchanged left-handed pitchers on Tuesday, with Oakland trading Brett Anderson and cash to Colorado for Drew Pomeranz, as well as Minor League righty Chris Jensen.
Injuries have limited Anderson to 24 starts over the past three seasons. The 25-year-old went 1-4 with a 6.04 ERA last year, when he made five starts and 11 relief appearances. He owns a 3.81 ERA over 450 2/3 career innings.
Pomeranz, also 25, has split time between the Minors and Majors over the past three seasons. In 34 games for the Rockies, including 30 starts, he went 4-14 with a 5.20 ERA. The Rockies acquired Pomeranz from the Indians in a 2011 trade for Ubaldo Jimenez.
Jensen, a former sixth-round pick, went 5-8 with a 4.55 ERA in 28 starts for Class A Advanced Modesto this season, striking out 136 in 152 1/3 innings.
– Andrew Simon
Free agent pitcher Jose Veras, who served as the Astros closer the first half of the season, said Tuesday his agent has been talking to Houston about a possible return to the Astros.
Veras, who lives in Miami, told MLB.com he would be thrilled to come back to the Astros, who signed him to a one-year deal a year ago and then traded him to Detroit in July. Veras saved 19 games for the Astros last year and posted a 2.93 ERA with 44 strikeouts and 14 walks in 43 innings.
“It feels like family there,” Veras said. “It’s a young team and they’re hungry to win. I feel part of the team. I doesn’t matter to me if we won or lose. When you play as a team and everybody cares, that’s the best part for me. I do my job to make the tam excited we won the game.
“It was my first time to get an opportunity to be a closer, and I appreciated that part. It felt like the best place I’ve been. I was talking to my agent and I feel excited the Astros are interested to bring me back to the team.”
The Astros have added Chad Qualls to their bullpen but would like to sign one more reliever. They’ve talked to the representatives of Jesse Crain, a Houston resident, and Chad Gaudin.
Meanwhile, a source told MLB.com the Astros have been talking with the agent for free agent outfielder/first baseman Mike Morse, who has a history with manager Bo Porter in Washington. Morse, 31, hit .215 with 23 homers and 27 RBIs in only 88 games split between the Mariners and Orioles last year and is two years removed from slugging 31 homers for Washington in 2011.
– Brian McTaggart
Troy Renck of the Denver Post reported Tuesday that the Rockies were aggressively pursuing trade talks with the Reds about lefty reliever Sean Marshall. But, the report also noted that talks have since cooled over concerns about Marshall’s health.
Marshall is 31 and has two years and $12 million remaining on his contract. Because of shoulder issues, he was limited to only 16 appearances last season. Therefore, the Rockies’ apparent concerns would be legitimate.
It was not known who the Reds might want in return for Marshall. On Monday, GM Walt Jocketty indicated the only way the Reds could any big deals would be to shift some payroll out. Marshall wouldn’t be a huge enough move to sign Shin-Soo Choo but maybe it would help add someone else. On the other hand, having two lefties in the bullpen with Marshall and Manny Parra is a nice asset to have.
– Mark Sheldon
The Tigers have found their answer in left field, and it’s not the much-rumored, oft-speculated pursuit of Shin-Soo Choo. Instead, they’re prepared to go with a platoon of Andy Dirks and Rajai Davis.
The Tigers spent Tuesday working to complete an agreement with Davis on what is expected to be a two-year contract, according to sources. The team has not confirmed the agreement, as is their policy when a contract is pending a physical. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, who first reported an agreement, said the contract will be worth $10 million.
It’s a role signing for a team that was looking to upgrade its offense and saw left field as the one place it could do so. It’ll happen situationally, plugging in the speedy Davis as the right-handed hitting half of a platoon with Dirks, as well as a basestealing option in the late innings of games he doesn’t start. His .294 career average and .354 on-base percentage against lefties, including .319 and .383 last season in a part-time role with the Blue Jays, fits what the Tigers were seeking, though the production often came in streaks.
By contrast, Davis is a .255 career hitter against right-handers, including just .228 (49-for-215) with 48 strikeouts this past season.
At the same time, it’s a philosophical shift for a team that has been short on speed and wary of speedsters in their thirties. Detroit has been neither a basestealing team nor a manufactured offense type of club for several seasons, increasingly focusing their baserunning efforts on hit-and-run and first-to-third plays. The Tigers wouldn’t be signing the 33-year-old Davis for multiple seasons if they didn’t plan to use his greatest asset.
Despite just 108 games and 360 plate appearances, Davis stole 45 bases in 51 attempts in 2013, and he has racked up at least 40 steals in four of the last five seasons. Meanwhile, the Tigers stole 35 bases as a team last season, led by Austin Jackson’s eight.
The deal rules out the Tigers on Choo, if they were ever in it. Though his combination of speed, on-base percentage and arm presented potentially an ideal fit for Detroit, he’s also an ideal fit for a lot of teams. With Jacoby Ellsbury and Robinson Cano off the market, moreover, Choo stands as the top position player left, making him a hot commodity.
– Jason Beck
UPDATE, 3:20 P.M. PT: The deal is nearing completion and is expected to be announced by Tuesday night. The Angels would get Skaggs and Santiago, the White Sox would get Eaton, and the D-backs would get Trumbo and two players to be named later (one each from the Angels and White Sox).
The Angels, Diamondbacks and White Sox are working on a three-team deal that would involve Mark Trumbo going to Arizona, and Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago going to the Angels, sources confirmed to MLB.com on Tuesday. Keith Law of ESPN.com, who first reported the specifics, said D-backs center fielder Adam Eaton would be going to the White Sox.
The D-backs would also be receiving two prospects, though it’s still uncertain from which clubs, an industry source told MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert.
“We think that we are on the cusp of doing some other things that I think our fans are going to like,” White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams told MLB.com’s Scott Merkin.
The deal, which is not done, could potentially fill a need for all parties involved.
The Angels would get some much-needed cost-controlled pitching. Skaggs has posted a 5.43 ERA in 13 starts with the D-backs over the last two years, but he’s only 22 and he’s a former first-round pick, drafted when Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto was the D-backs’ director of scouting and player personnel. Santiago, a 25-year-old left-hander, went 4-9 with a 3.56 ERA in 34 games (23 starts) for the White Sox in 2013 and would be looked as a starter with the Angels. Santiago is still a year away from arbitration.
Trumbo, 27, would transition to a corner-outfield spot in Arizona and supply some much-needed power. Over the last three years, Trumbo — a homegrown player who grew up an Angels fan — has hit 95 homers and driven in 282 runs while providing a .773 OPS. If Trumbo ultimately departs, the Angels feel they’d need to replace his bat via free agency. But if no money changes hands in this deal, and no other players are involved, the Angels would be saving about $4 million, since Trumbo could make roughly $5 million as a first-year arbitration-eligible player.
Eaton, 25, gives the White Sox a young center fielder with some upside. He’s posted a .254/.332/.373 slash line in 88 games with the D-backs over the last two years, but batted .375/.456/.523 in the Minors in 2012.
– Alden Gonzalez
The rumors and speculation continue on Day 2 of the Winter Meetings. Here’s a few of the top stories from Tuesday morning at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.:
- Marlins first baseman Logan Morrison is drawing tons of interest, and it’s almost inevitable he’ll be dealt, but MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes that Morrison might not be dealt during the Winter Meetings.
- The Orioles are trying to get a deal done with closer Grant Balfour, tweets Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. Our Brittany Ghiroli writes that no deal is on the table, though that could change quickly.
- The Angels have been open to dealing Mark Trumbo this offseason, with the D-backs the most-talked about destination. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the White Sox have joined the conversation. In this scenario, the Angels would get pitchers Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago from Arizona and Chicago, respectively, the D-backs would get Trumbo and the Sox would receive D-backs outfielder Adam Eaton.
- The Phillies are willing to talk about left-handers Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
- The Indians are willing to listen on right-hander Justin Masterson and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, tweets Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi. As Morosi notes in a later tweet, the Indians have young shortstop Francisco Lindor waiting in the wings.
- Third baseman Juan Uribe is drawing interest from the Dodgers, White Sox and other teams, according to ESPN Deportes’ Enrique Rojas, though MLB.com’s Scott Merkin doesn’t see Uribe as a fit.
- The A’s may not trade left-hander Brett Anderson this week, according to Yanoo!’s Jeff Passan.
- Cash Kruth
The Tigers are nearing a two-year deal with outfielder Rajai Davis, according to Fox Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi.
Davis, 33, hits right handed and figures to slide into left field, where he will share time with incumbent Andy Dirks, a left-handed hitter.
Davis spent the past three years with the Blue Jays and adds athleticism to the Tigers’ lineup. He’s stolen more than 40 bases in four of the last five years and has 268 in his career.
He is a .268 career hitter over an eight-year career with the Pirates, Giants, A’s and Jays.
This likely takes the TIgers out of the running for free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.
- Cash Kruth
Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, perhaps the top outfielder remaining on the free-agent market, might not be available much longer. On the first night of the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and MLB Network tweeted that talks involving Choo “appear to be reaching [a] critical stage.”
Although several clubs could be bidding, Rosenthal identifies the Rangers and D-backs as two that are heavily involved. Texas has been rumored to be interested in Choo throughout the offseason, while Arizona has been more under the radar.
However, our Anthony Castrovince tweets that the D-backs are “a strong suitor,” partly because the 31-year-old has a home in Buckeye, Ari., just outside of Phoenix.
– Andrew Simon
If the Dodgers add a long reliever, as general manager Ned Colletti recently said is a possibility, the primary candidate is familiar face Jamey Wright, who served in the role nicely in 2012. Wright, 39 this month, went 5-3 with a 3.72 ERA in 66 appearances for the Dodgers in 2012. But they didn’t bring him back in 2013, when he signed another Minor League contract and had an even better season for Tampa Bay (2-2, 3.09, 66 appearances). He also reached the post-season for the first time in an 18-year career. After re-signing Brian Wilson to set up last week, Colletti said he was still looking for right-handed and left-handed middle relievers, and possibly a long reliever. — Ken Gurnick