Brewers and Mets officials met at the Winter Meetings to discuss New York knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner being dangled in trade talks. But Brewers GM Doug Melvin said there was no match.
“I just talked to them briefly, but there is nothing to that,” said Melvin, who was Rangers GM when that team drafted Dickey in 1996. “We never got into [exchanging names]. It doesn’t appear to be a match.”
The Mets’ asking price for Dickey is said to be high. He pitched for the Brewers’ Triple-A club in 2007 and was Pacific Coast League pitcher of the year while tinkering with his now-famous knuckleball.
– Adam McCalvy
Today was manager Buck Showalter’s day to meet with the media at the Winter Meetings in Nashville, and here the Hot Stove highlights…
*Asked if he was getting antsy that they hadn’t made any moves, Showalter said it was actually the opposite. It appears that the Orioles value for their players in higher than other clubs and so far Baltimore won’t budge.
*Free agent outfielder Nate McLouth and Showalter spoke on the phone earlier today and the expectation is McLouth’s agent will meet with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette at some point today. The Orioles want McLouth back and he wants to come back, assuming the two sides can work out a fair deal.
*Speaking of returns, Showalter said the club has not ruled out a return for first baseman Mark Reynolds, who was non-tendered on Friday. Reynolds is a free agent along with Omar Quintanilla –who was also non-tendered– and the O’s aren’t eliminating either player as an option for next season.
NASHVILLE, TENN. — According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, A’s officials are slated to meet with the agent for free-agent Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima in Nashville today. It’s an intriguing option for the A’s, who are among several teams scouring a shallow shortstop market — most of which boast bigger payrolls than Oakland, ones that could help land Stephen Drew. The A’s are not out on Drew, but let’s take a look at the lesser known Nakajima:
The 30-year-old shortstop was in negotiations with the Yankees last winter, after New York won posting rights to him. But the Yankees failed to sign Nakajima, who wasn’t so much interested in salary figures as he was playing time, which wasn’t offered to him on an everyday basis — factors that figure to be in play this time around, too. The A’s are likely willing to promise him just that, with utility infielders Adam Rosales and Andy Parrino their only other in-house options at this point.
Nakajima enjoyed a successful 2012 campaign with the Seibu Lions in Japan, where he finished with a line of.311/.382/.451, to go along with 13 home runs. Since 2007, the infielder has averaged 20.5 homers per 162 games, along with a .310 average and .381 on-base percentage. Furthermore, he boasts above-average defensive skills.
Nakajima, who represented Japan at the 2008 Olympics and in the ’09 World Baseball Classic, already met with D-backs officials — also shopping for infield help on the left side — in Arizona in November, though a deal was reportedly never on the table. The D-backs, however, are believed to still be interested in him.
The A’s, meanwhile, figure to be keeping all of their options open, particularly since they’re in no hurry to make a move, and that includes both the free-agent and trade markets.
– Jane Lee
Arthur Rhodes, the 43-year-old left-hander who won a World Series ring with the Cardinals in 2011, has told folks close to him that he has not given up hope of pitching in the Majors again. He is seeking to latch on — it would be via a Minor League deal — with a club this offseason in order to have a chance to win a roster spot out of Spring Training.
Rhodes’ last appearance came during the ’11 World Series. He was not signed last winter despite drawing some interest and therefore didn’t pitch in 2012. Now, he is making one more go at a chance to return to the mound.
Rhodes likely won’t know until late in the offseason whether or not a club has interest in giving him a chance. That’s because Rhodes, a 20-year veteran, won’t be pursued until the rest of the left-handed relief market has been picked through.
– Jenifer Langosch
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It was a foregone conclusion that the Giants would exercise the 2014 options on the contracts of general manager Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy. Those moves could occur as early as Tuesday afternoon, when club president and chief executive officer Larry Baer is expected to address the issue.
Given the Giants’ two World Series triumphs in the last three years, contract extensions for Sabean and Bochy would be within the realm of possibility.
Sabean, the longest-tenured GM in the Major Leagues, is entering his 17th season on the job. He has been the architect of teams that recorded a 1,392-1,199 record for a .537 winning percentage.
Bochy, who began managing the Giants in 2007 after 12 years as the skipper of the San Diego Padres, owns a 1,454-1,444 career record. He has steered teams to the postseason six times. Besides his pair of World Series appearances with the Giants, Bochy also reached the Fall Classic in 1998 with the Padres.
Together, Sabean and Bochy have helped the Giants record four consecutive winning seasons, the team’s longest such streak since 1997-2004.
– Chris Haft
The Indians have been eyeing free-agent outfielder Shane Victorino all offseason, but talks appear to be gaining steam here in Nashville. According to multiple reports, Cleveland remains a primary suitor for the outfielder.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick called the Indians the “prime” suitor in the current negotiations, which also reportedly include the Red Sox, Yankees and Cubs. The Phillies are believed to be involved to a lesser extent, while the Braves and Reds have backed off for now.
The general consensus is that the 32-year-old Victorino will warrant a three- or four-year deal, and it might take a four-year pact to convince him to join the Tribe. According to Crasnick, manager Terry Francona personally reached out to Victorino earlier this offseason.
Last year, Victorino posted a slash line of .255/.321/.383/.704 across 154 games between stints with the Phillies and Dodgers. He mixed in 11 homers, 29 doubles, 39 stolen bases, 55 RBIs and 72 runs scored.
Over the past three seasons, Victorino has hit .264/.334/.432/.766, and he has appeared in at least 131 games in each of the past seven years, averaging 146 games over that span.
On Monday, Indians GM Chris Antonetti said the club was comfortable with Michael Brantley in center field, though he also has the ability to shift to left. Victorino can also play both spots. In L.A., he spent 48 of his 53 games in left field for the Dodgers.
Victorino would potentially give Cleveland an experienced leadoff man as well. Last year, Shin-Soo Choo spent a lot of time in that role for the Indians, but the club is currently listening to trade offers for the right fielder.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Bobby Evans, the Giants’ vice president of baseball operations, hinted that competition for free-agent second baseman Marco Scutaro’s services could be more spirited than anticipated.
“He’s got versatility,” Evans said Monday, referring to Scutaro’s ability to play shortstop and third base as well, “and that gives him an additional market that some guys may not have.”
Observers assumed that Scutaro, 37, would settle for a two-year contract. But his breadth of skills, along with his .362 average in 61 games down the stretch for the Giants and that National League Championship Series MVP trophy he won, might be enough to earn him another year, or at least an option year.
“In Marco’s case, I wouldn’t rule out anything,” Evans said.
At a ceremony here Monday, Evans received the Bowie Kuhn Baseball Chapel Award for his efforts to encourage spiritual efforts among the Giants. In addition, Staci Slaughter, the club’s senior vice president of communications, received the 2021 Robert O. Fishel Award for public relations excellence. She has been a member of the organization since 1996.
– Chris Haft
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Bobby Evans, the Giants’ vice president of baseball operations, used some powerful language Monday to suggest that Brian Wilson ideally will always wear a San Francisco uniform.
Of course, whether Wilson views matters the same way remains to be seen.
The Giants declined to tender Wilson a 2013 contract last Friday. They didn’t want to pay him a minimum of $6.8 million, the minimum they could have offered him under terms of the Basic Agreement. Players’ salaries cannot be cut by more than 20 percent; the $6.8 million figure represented a 20 percent reduction from the $8.5 million Wilson earned in 2012.
To listen to Evans, Wilson’s value to the Giants is priceless.
“I think Brian’s a Giant for life, and he’ll hopefully be a guy who’ll consider coming back here as he evaluates his options,” Evans said, adding that the organization respected Wilson’s right to look elsewhere.
Added Evans, “He’s a commodity that’s hard to find. It’s hard to find guys built like him that have the mentality that he has that led to a lot of his success. So that’s going to be very interesting on the open market, injury aside. His makeup is part of what makes him successful.”
Manager Bruce Bochy, who personally contacted Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro to help the Giants’ efforts to keep both players, said that he would call Wilson soon in an attempt to convince him to stay.
Whatever happens with Wilson, Bochy declared that Sergio Romo would open next season as the Giants’ closer, barring drastic roster moves. “I’ll tell you (that) right now,” Bochy said, though he indicated that he might continue the closer-by-committee strategy he employed in Wilson’s absence. Santiago Casilla saved a team-high 25 games, and Bochy mentioned Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez as others who could lend support — as they did in 2012.
So if Angel Pagan remains productive for the duration of his four-year contract, what happens to Gary Brown, the 2010 first-round draft choice who was billed as the Giants’ center fielder of the future?
Evans said that Brown, 24, remains highly regarded within the organization. “I don’t doubt Gary at all,” Evans said.
“The timing for him will be dictated more by him than it will be us.”
In other words, if Brown excels, the Giants will find a place for him somewhere in the outfield. He hit .279 with 33 stolen bases at Double-A Richmond this year and followed that by hitting .313 in 17 games for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League.
“I think Gary will put himself in the big leagues at the right time,” Evans said.
– Chris Haft
While still focused on signing free-agent pitcher Zack Greinke, the Dodgers have talked to the Mets about acquiring Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, according to a baseball source. Dickey would be a fallback if the club can’t land Greinke. Financially, the Dodgers can afford both of them, but don’t appear to be a great trade partner for the Mets because they lack top position prospects, which the Mets want in return. — Ken Gurnick
NASHVILLE — The market is starting to develop for Roberto Hernandez.
Hernandez, the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona , is seeking a one-year deal and has garnered interest from at least five teams, including the Indians, his former club, according to an industry source.
Hernandez, 31, has two offers on the table and is mulling his options. He does not have any interest in pitching out of the bullpen.
The right-handed pitcher was arrested in January in the Dominican Republic on charges of using a false name and legal issues kept him from obtaining a visa and entering the United States for several months. The charges were eventually dropped and the one-time All-Star became eligible to pitch for the Indians on Aug. 11. However, he made only three starts and was slowed by an ankle injury.
The club restructured Hernandez’s contract for 2012 after his arrest and later declined his $6 million option at the end of the season, making him a free agent. He does not have any visa issues and expects to report to camp on time when he signs with a team, the source said.
Hernandez originally signed with Cleveland as an undrafted free agent in 2000 and went 53-69 with a 4.64 ERA in seven seasons with the Tribe.
– Jesse Sanchez