The eve of the Winter Meetings was quiet as executives rolled into Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
No moves happened, but just because this past week was one of the busiest in recent memory doesn’t mean the Winter Meetings will be boring, writes MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince.
The moves that occur this week don’t have to be big to make an impact, says MLB.com’s Richard Justice.
And, as MLB.com’s Phil Rogers writes, every team coming to Florida needs something – whether they’ve already made a move or not.
Many general managers met with reporters on Sunday night. Here’s what they told the media they’re looking for over the course of the next few days:
- The Red Sox are still looking to stay active, even with first baseman Mike Napoli resigned and catcher A.J. Pierzynski and reliever Edward Mujica added.
- The Tigers might not be done yet. Ditto for the Yankees.
- Braves GM Frank Wren has some items to cross off his list, including adding a starting pitcher and attempting to trade second baseman Dan Uggla.
- The Reds are looking to add offense, while the Royals still need an impact bat.
- Need an outfielder? Call the Dodgers. How about a pitcher? The A’s have a surplus.
- The White Sox are looking to improve for the long term and likely won’t move any big names, says GM Rick Hahn.
- The Cubs are looking for upgrades across the board, including their bullpen.
- The Orioles have lost a lot of pieces — closer Jim Johnson, pitcher Scott Feldman and outfielder Nate McLouth — but come to Florida looking to add value.
- The Indians are looking to add pitching. So, too, are the Rockies and the Blue Jays.
- The Cardinals appear set, but would like to add depth. The Nationals need to bolster their bench.
- Plenty of questions surround the Rays. Of course, the future of left-hander David Price is the biggest.
- The Astros are going to continue to add pieces. As are the Marlins.
- The Angels have been busy during the past few Winter Meetings and are hoping to continue that trend.
- The Brewers aren’t expecting to make many big moves, but are definitely interested in some upgrades.
- The Twins are hoping to add to their offseason haul of Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes, and also are looking for someone to catch them.
- The Mets hope signing outfielder Curtis Granderson was only the beginning.
- The Phillies are looking to be creative in adding parts.
- The Padres expect to be quiet outside of looking for a lefty reliever.
- The Pirates need a right fielder and first baseman.
- The Giants are looking to deal for a left fielder.
- Cash Kruth
With Friday’s flurry of big moves in the rearview mirror and the baseball world gearing up for the start of the Winter Meetings on Monday, the Hot Stove took a bit of a break on Saturday.
Here is a look at the latest news from around the league:
- The Yankees reached official agreements with two free agents, announcing their seven-year contract with outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, as well as re-signing starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda for one year.
After reportedly agreeing to a three-year deal with Carlos Beltran on Friday, the Yankees could be open to dealing from their outfield depth and are “receiving significant interest” in Brett Gardner, according to Andy McCullough of The Star Ledger.
Elsewhere in the American League East, the Red Sox announced their two-year deal with reliever Edward Mujica. Boston general manager Ben Cherington said that while he will continue to look for upgrades, the Sox likely are finished with their “heavy lifting.” On the other hand, Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp is “in play” for the Red Sox, according to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti confirmed that he is open to trading an outfielder, since the club has Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig.
Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who could be in line for a contract extension this offseason, played a little joke via social media.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and MLB Network lists the Dodgers, D-backs, Rangers and Mariners as the teams in the best position to make a trade for Rays ace left-hander David Price at the Winter Meetings. Among the other players Rosenthal believes could be moved this week in Orlando, Fla., are A’s starting pitcher Brett Anderson, Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick, Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija and Orioles catcher Matt Wieters.
The Astros bolstered their bullpen by bringing in right-hander Chad Qualls on a two-year deal.
During a question-and-answer session with fans at the second day of Redsfest, Cincinnati GM Walt Jocketty said it will be “very difficult” to re-sign free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and also downplayed trade rumors about second baseman Brandon Phillips.
With Beltran heading to the Yankees, the Royals will have to look elsewhere to add an impact bat this offseason. Another club that lost out on Beltran, the D-backs, could target the Angels’ Mark Trumbo instead, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
The Marlins could be looking to looking to trade for Rays utility man Sean Rodriguez as they aim to find a solution at third base. Our Joe Frisaro also explains why the Marlins are likely to trade first baseman-outfielder Logan Morrison.
The Orioles added an outfielder, signing Francisco Peguero, who had been designated for assignment and then non-tendered by the Giants. Peguero had been MLB.com’s No. 98 overall prospect going into last season.
– Andrew Simon
The Astros have signed free agent right-handed pitcher Chad Qualls to a two-year contract, which includes a club option for the 2016 season. The deal is worth a reported $6 million over two years with a $3.5-million option.
Qualls, 35, went 5-2 with a 2.61 ERA in 66 relief appearances for Miami last season. He induced 11 double play balls, which ranked tied for third among National League relievers, and ranked fifth in the NL in ground ball percentage (77.7 percent). Qualls has now made 50 or more appearances in nine consecutive seasons (2005-13) and since his debut in 2004, ranks second among all Major League relievers with 663 career appearances.
“Improving our bullpen is a top priority this offseason,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “Bringing Chad back to Houston is a big step in that direction.”
Qualls returns to Houston, the organization that drafted him in the second round of the 2000 draft. He worked his way up the minors and pitched parts of four seasons for the Astros (2004-07). Over his first two campaigns (2004-05), he was an integral part of the Astros bullpen that carried the club to a National League Championship series in 2004 and a World Series appearance in 2005. Qualls made three appearances in the 2005 World Series, allowing just one run in 5.1 innings pitched (1.69 ERA). Overall as an Astro, he made 262 appearances and owns a 23-12 record with six saves and a 3.39 ERA.
Qualls has pitched for eight different organizations in his career, including time with Houston (2004-07), Arizona (2008-10), Tampa Bay (2010), San Diego (2011), Philadelphia (2012), New York-AL (2012), Pittsburgh (2012) and Miami (2013). In his 663 career appearances, Qualls has gone 45-37 with 51 saves and a 3.79 ERA.
– Brian McTaggart
What a comic, that Hanley Ramirez. He posted an Instagram photo sitting in a plane with a caption “To Los Angeles .. Good news!!!” and the twittersphere concluded a contract extension was imminent.
One of his agents said Hanley was “messing around” with the posting and actually was on a flight to the Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, Dodgers officials arrive this weekend in Orlando for the Winter Meetings. A Ramirez extension is on the club’s off-season to-do list, but nothing appears imminent. — Ken Gurnick
MIAMI — The Marlins’ short list of potential third base candidates includes Miami native Sean Rodriguez of the Rays.
According to a league source, the Marlins have had internal discussions about Rodriguez. It’s unclear if the 28-year-old Miami’s No. 1 trade target, but he could factor into a plan to at least share time at the hot corner.
The Marlins are closing in on a two-year deal with first baseman Garrett Jones, who has played in at least 144 games in each of the past four seasons with the Pirates.
Assuming Jones eventually signs, the Marlins will likely look to trade Logan Morrison.
Tampa Bay is one of the teams reportedly to have interest in Morrison.
If teams talk about Morrison, perhaps Rodriguez and a pitcher could get a deal done.
Rodriguez, who attended Braddock High School in Miami, made $1 million last season and he is in his second season of arbitration.
In a utility role, Rodriguez batted .246 with a .320 on-base percentage and five homers and 23 RBIs last season.
A right-handed batter, Rodriguez could split time at the hot corner with Ed Lucas or Donovan Solano. Rodriguez also would give some insurance at shortstop for Adeiny Hechavarria, and depth at second or even first base. He also plays the outfield.
Miami may be looking for a stop gap solution at third base until Colin Moran, the sixth overall pick last year, is ready, which could be in 2015.
– Joe Frisaro
The Hot Stove reached ridiculous heat levels Friday, as a handful of free agents signed or agreed to terms — including the biggest free agent of all.
Five-time All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano agreed to a 10-year, $240-million deal with the Mariners on Friday, according to multiple sources.
The Yankees didn’t sulk for long, as they reportedly agreed to a three-year, $45-million contract with outfielder Carlos Beltran.
The money the Yankees saved on Cano allowed them to land Beltran, and they still have financial flexibility going forward. Worth noting: Beltran signed with St. Louis following Albert Pujols’ $240-million departure to the Angels — the same dollar amount of Cano’s deal.
While the Beltran deal came at night, the baseball world had all day to digest the Cano news.
Cano’s new teammates expressed their excitement.
“It’s pretty exciting,” first baseman Justin Smoak said from his offseason home in South Carolina. “It’s something we’re all looking forward to. Man, that’s a pretty big-time deal. It’s good for us and good for the city of Seattle.”
The Cano signing was a good start for the Mariners, but MLB.com’s Richard Justice writes Seattle needs to do more in order to improve its offense.
MLB.com’s Phil Rogers writes that Cano bucked the trend by being the rare superstar to leave the Yankees.
The Mariners now have two of the top 11 highest-paid players in baseball.
Although by far two of the biggest deals on Friday, the signings of Cano and Beltran weren’t the only ones that went down.
- Mike Napoli tweeted he is coming back to Boston. The deal is reportedly for two years and $32 million.
- The Mets inked outfielder Curtis Granderson for four years and $60 million.
- The Yankees reportedly brought back right-hander Hiroki Kuroda for one year and $16 million. New York also officially announced its one-year deal with infielder/outfielder Kelly Johnson.
- The Astros and right-hander Scott Feldman agreed to a three-year, $30-million deal.
- The Rangers are nearing a deal with free-agent catcher J.P. Arencibia.
- The Marlins are close to a two-year pact with first baseman Garrett Jones.
- The Nationals reportedly signed outfielder Nate McLouth to a two-year, $10.75-million deal with an option for a third year.
- The Orioles agreed to a two-year, $4.5-million deal with right-handed reliever Ryan Webb.
Other Friday notes from around the league:
- The Phillies are trying to deal closer Jonathan Papelbon, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
- A’s left-hander Brett Anderson is well aware of the trade rumors.
- Indians general manager Chris Antonetti plans on staying away from the big-money deals, writes MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince.
- Cincinnati players attended Redsfest and said they’re ready to turn the page on 2013. Despite swirling trade rumors, second baseman Brandon Phillips attended.
- The White Sox outrighted Blake Tekotte and Mike McDade to Triple-A to lower their 40-man roster to 37.
Ken Rosenthal has reported the Marlins are close to signing first baseman/outfielder Garrett Jones to a deal in Miami, possibly setting off a domino effect of other moves. Rosenthal says it likely means Mike Napoli won’t be coming to Miami, and there could be a deal imminent involving Logan Morrison.
Jones lost his job in Pittsburgh down the stretch last season to Justin Morneau (who is reportedly about to settle down in Denver), and then was let go this winter by the Pirates.
– Joey Nowak
The Rangers have added a catcher, signing J.P. Arencibia to a one-year deal, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reported.
After spending the last three seasons in Toronto, Arencibia will apparently back up Geovany Soto.
Grant reports the deal is worth about $1 million in base salary.
– Joey Nowak
The Astros landed the veteran starting pitcher they’ve been coveting by agreeing to sign right-hander Scott Feldman, a source confirmed to MLB.com. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports the deal is three years and $30 million.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow wouldn’t confirm the report.
Feldman is a nine-year veteran who split 2013 between the Cubs and the Orioles, going 12-12 with a 3.86 ERA in 30 starts. He gives the Astros a proven arm to plug into their young rotation with Jarred Cosart, Dallas Keuchel, Brett Oberholtzer and Brad Peacock.
Feldman, 30, spent his first eight seasons with the Rangers, going 39-44 with a 4.81 ERA in 204 games, including 101 starts. He came up as a reliever but was moved to the rotation in 2008.
– Brian McTaggart
On just about any other day, Curtis Granderson would be the most high-profile Yankee leaving the Bronx. But with Robinson Cano apparently heading to Seattle, this may fly under the radar: Granderson and the Mets have agreed to a four-year deal, the New York Post‘s Joel Sherman has reported.
Multiple outlets have the deal pegged at $60 million.
The Mets have been searching for outfield help and Granderson fit in their price range. He missed most of last season with injuries but proved to be an extremely productive player in pinstripes, and would likely move to a corner outfield spot in Queens.
– Joey Nowak