The Pirates agreed to terms on a two-year, $14 million contract with pitcher Francisco Liriano, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on Friday.
The deal is pending a physical.
Liriano, 29, was 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA in 34 games, including 28 starts, for the Twins and White Sox last season. He spent most of his career with Minnesota and had his best year during an All-Star 2006 season when he was 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA.
– Mark Sheldon
- The Cubs added two pitchers Thursday, agreeing to terms with right-handers Edwin Jackson and Carlos Villanueva, according to reports.
- While the Cubs added Thursday, the White Sox lost, as longtime White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski agreed to a one-year deal with the Rangers, pending a physical, a source told MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan.
- In other pitching news, the Tigers have talked to the Mariners and Orioles about right-hander Rick Porcello, according to FoxSport.com’s Jon Paul Morosi.
- The Twins have interest in free agent right-hander Rich Harden, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Our own Rhett Bollinger indicated the Twins are interested in adding another arm on Twitter.
- In the National League East on Thursday, the Phillies signed reliever Mike Adams, while the Marlins added Placido Polanco.
The Cubs aren’t finished shopping for pitching, and are reportedly pursuing free agents Edwin Jackson and Carlos Villanueva. The Cubs lost out in their bid for Anibal Sanchez, who rejected a five year, $77 million offer and signed with the Tigers for $80 million. Now Chicago is apparently taking aim at Jackson, 29, who was reportedly seeking a three- to four-year contract after making $11 million last season with the Nationals. The Padres were among the teams believed to be in the mix for Jackson, but there were reports Wednesday that they would not offer more than a three-year deal. Jackson went 10-11 last season and compiled a 4.03 ERA in 31 starts. In his career, he’s 14-9 with a 3.95 ERA in 38 games (36 starts) against the National League Central.
The Cubs already have added free agent pitchers Scott Feldman and Scott Baker, signing both to one-year contracts. But the team wants more depth, especially if Baker and Matt Garza are not ready. Baker is coming back from Tommy John surgery and Garza has just started throwing for the first time since July 21. He was shut down then because of a right elbow injury.
On Wednesday, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and MLB Network reported that the Cubs had signed Villanueva. However, a source told MLB.com that the two sides were still finalizing details and no deal was done. Villanueva, 29, made 16 starts and 22 relief appearances last season for the Blue Jays, compiling a 4.16 ERA over 125 1/3 innings.
The right-hander, who made $2.2775 million in 2012, has pitched for the Brewers and Blue Jays, making 29 starts in the last two seasons with Toronto. In his career as a starter, he is 16-22 with a 4.80 ERA in 56 games.
– Carrie Muskat
The Angels, a source told MLB.com, have traded designated hitter Kendrys Morales to the Mariners in exchange for starting pitcher Jason Vargas.
Vargas, a 29-year-old left-hander, went 14-11 with a 3.85 ERA in 33 starts last year. Morales batted .273 with 22 homers and 73 RBIs in 2012, his first season removed from a couple of ankle surgeries.
More coming on MLB.com soon.
– Alden Gonzalez
The Cubs’ pursuit of Anibal Sanchez was a little bit of a surprise considering the team’s approach to free agents has been to buy low. Now, there are reports that the Cubs are interested in free agent pitcher Edwin Jackson. ESPN’s Jim Bowden said the Padres refused to give Jackson a four-year contract, and it’s down to the Cubs and Rangers. Jackson is reportedly seeking $12 to $13 million per year after making $11 million last season with the Nationals.
Let’s look at the numbers. In the last four years, Jackson is 45-41 with a 3.98 ERA in 127 starts and one relief appearance. According to my MLB.com colleague T.R. Sullivan, there have been 63 Major League pitchers who have made at least 100 starts over the last four years, and Jackson has the 35th best ERA in that group. He’s 43rd with 8.99 hits per nine innings, 37th with 2.97 walks, and 34th with 7.29 strikeouts per nine.
More numbers to consider. Since Jackson joined the White Sox at the July 31, 2010, Trade Deadline, he has gone 26-22 with a 3.80 ERA and 1.31 WHIP in 74 starts (464 1/3 innings, two complete games) and averaged 7.6 strikeouts per nine innings. Teams have hit .264 against him. In that same span, Sanchez has gone 22-28 with a 3.79 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 75 starts (462 2/3 innings, four complete games) and averaged 8.5 strikeouts per nine for the Marlins and Tigers. Teams have hit .257 against him.
The Cubs are looking for pitching. Jackson turned 29 in September; Sanchez turns 29 in February. The red flag is that Jackson has pitched for seven different teams, and six in the last five years.
The Cubs reportedly offered Sanchez $77 million over five years. Would they give Jackson four years and $50 million? Would you?
– Carrie Muskat
The acquisition of Josh Hamilton was, in many ways, a two-for-one signing because it also allows general manager Jerry Dipoto to trade a suddenly-expendable player for another starting pitcher.
Question is: Can the Angels take on more payroll in the process?
Hamilton’s five-year, $125 million contract will pay him $17 million in 2013 ($15 million in salary, plus a $10 million signing bonus that’s dispersed evenly over the course of his five-year contract). That, in addition to arbitration projections and minimum contracts, puts the Angels’ 2013 payroll at roughly $159 million, which is about where they finished at last year.
Asked about expanding it further in case of adding a pricey arm, Angels president John Carpino basically said it would be considered on a case-by-case basis.
“Instead of putting [the payroll] at a place where it’s, ‘This is where we’re at,’ it’s, ‘What’s the opportunity cost of doing it?’” Carpino said at Hamilton’s Saturday news conference. “So, if something became available that’s an opportunity cost, it just comes down to wanting to win. But it also has to make sense fiscally.”
Teams are a lot more willing to give up a would-be free agent than a cost-controlled arm, of course.
That’s why, with R.A. Dickey off the board, names like Ricky Nolasco of the Marlins ($11.5 million in his walk year), Gavin Floyd of the White Sox ($9.5 million in his walk year) and Matt Garza of the Cubs (projected $10 million in his final arbitration year) seem to be the most feasible. Rick Porcello of the Tigers (projected $4.7 million in his second arbitration year) has also been mentioned.
Peter Bourjos, who’s still a year away from arbitration and will make about $500,000 in 2013, appeals to many teams. Kendrys Morales, Vernon Wells and — seemingly to a lesser extent — Mark Trumbo can also be made available.
The Angels’ preference would be to acquire a young, pre-arbitration starter who won’t add to the budget (Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore of the Rays comes to mind). But whether or not that situation presents itself remains to be seen.
– Alden Gonzalez
It’s no secret that the Padres have a great deal of interest in free-agent starter Edwin Jackson. MLB.com’s Corey Brock wrote a piece Friday detailing San Diego’s desire to bolster its rotation, and Jackson is on the club’s short list.
Indeed, Jackson’s name continues to be linked to the Padres in rumors and reports. FOX’s Ken Rosenthal tweeted last week that the Padres are “strongly pursuing” Jackson. Jim Bowden of ESPN and Sirius XM tweeted that the two sides “continue to negotiate” on a three-year contract. And CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman said the Padres, Rangers and other clubs have been “in touch” with Jackson.
Scott Miller of CBSSports.com threw some cold water on the fire, noting that while the Padres are trying to lock up Jackson with a multi-year deal, those negotiations are “just chatter” at the moment.
Jackson, a 29-year-old right-hander, makes a lot of sense for the Padres, as he’s a durable veteran who pitched for San Diego GM Josh Byrnes and assistant GM A.J. Hinch in Arizona. You might even recall Jackson tossing an unusual no-hitter for the D-backs against another one of his former teams, the Rays, while Hinch was at the helm.
The free-agent market for pitchers has proven to be quite expensive this winter, however, and the Padres would prefer to keep their deals to three years or shorter, which means San Diego might have to fill its rotation needs through trades.
Less than a week ago, it was reported that free-agent outfielder Nick Swisher was drawing interest from several teams, including the Red Sox, Phillies, Mariners, Rangers, Orioles and Indians, and planned to meet with a few of them in person soon. Now, it appears Cleveland is zeroing in on the former Yankees slugger.
ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted Monday that the Indians are “making a push” to sign Swisher. Adding to that, Nick Camino of WTAM 1100 in Cleveland tweets that Swisher is expected to have dinner with Indians president Mark Shapiro on Monday night.
On Thursday, CBSSports’ Scott Miller posted that three or four clubs were seriously interested in Swisher, but he was “not even close” to choosing where he’ll play in 2013.
The 32-year-old OF/1B posted a .272/.364/.473 batting line with 36 doubles, 24 homers and 93 RBIs last year for the Yankees.
The Red Sox have found their everyday shortstop for 2013, reportedly agreeing to a one-year, $9.5 million contract with Stephen Drew. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and MLB Network first reported terms of the deal.
Drew finished last season with the A’s after the D-backs traded him, putting together a combined .223/.309/.348 batting line with seven homers and 28 RBIs in 79 games. The 29-year-old missed time early on in the year while recovering from an ankle injury suffered in 2011.
For his career, Drew owns a .265/.328/.433 batting line with 77 home runs and 349 RBIs. Regarded as the top shortstop available in a thin free-agent market, Drew reportedly received interest from several teams, including the A’s and Yankees.
Signing Drew for just one year gives Boston time to further develop its two top shortstop prospects, 22-year-old Jose Iglesias and 20-year-old Xander Bogaerts. The move also continues Boston’s flurry of offseason activity. The Red Sox have already agreed to terms with outfielder Shane Victorino, starter Ryan Dempster, reliever Koji Uehara, catcher David Ross and C/1B Mike Napoli, whose deal is not yet finalized.
Drew is the younger brother of J.D. Drew, who spent the final five seasons of his career with the Red Sox.
R.A. Dickey’s storybook three-year run with the Mets may be coming to an end. The Mets are seriously discussing a trade of the reigning Cy Young Award-winner, according to multiple people involved in the negotiations, and could strike a deal as soon as Saturday. The Blue Jays are reportedly frontrunners for his services.
But people involved with the negotiations said Friday evening that nothing was imminent. For at least one more night, the Mets expected Dickey to remain in their employ.
The Jays, who possess surplus catching and outfield depth, have long been considered natural trade partners for the Mets, and now appear to be closing in on his services. Some combination of catchers Travis d’Arnaud or J.P. Arencibia, in addition to outfielder Anthony Gose, could land Dickey.
MLB.com reported late Friday afternoon that the Rangers, long considered serious suitors for Dickey, are no longer in the running. And despite rampant speculation that Josh Hamilton’s arrival in Orange County could prompt the Angels to trade some of their outfield surplus, a deal with the Halos appears no more likely now than it was at the beginning of this week.