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
There wasn’t a whole lot of Hot Stove chatter on Saturday, though a few interesting nuggets appeared as teams continue to look to build their best rosters.
- The Royals appear serious in their pursuit of free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, according to Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star. One Royals official told Dutton of Beltran: “We’d love to have him in. One thing about Carlos Beltran is he’s a money player. He’s an RBI guy. He produces.”
- The Mets are scheduled to meet with free-agent right-hander Bronson Arroyo at his home this upcoming week, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com
- Free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal has been contacted by the Red Sox, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, Pirates and Rockies, according to ESPNDeportes.com. Here’s Rubin’s writeup for ESPN New York in English.
- Cash Kruth
The Dodgers are certainly no stranger to the Hot Stove after all the moves they’ve made over the last couple seasons, and it sounds as if they may have one infielder trying to stay while one may be looking at a 2014 campaign with a new club. We have all that news and more in today’s Hot Stove roundup:
- When healthy, Hanley Ramirez was arguably the Dodgers’ most valuable player this season. The infielder, who’s entering the final year of a six-year, $70 million deal he signed with the Marlins, told ESPN Deportes that he’s working on a contract extension that could come this winter. The Dodgers didn’t comment on the report. Ramirez has told the club he’d be willing to move back to third base, but can also play shortstop.
- Speaking of the Dodgers, their second baseman may be elsewhere next season after the team declined Mark Ellis‘ $5.75 club option since they finalized a deal with Cuban second baseman Alexander Guerrero. The Marlins are looking to fill an infield void, and the team has discussed Ellis. He hit .270 with six homers in 126 games for the Dodgers last year.
- David Price may be the hottest starting pitching name on the market this winter, and the Rangers could be involved. ESPN’s Richard Durrett reports that just because Texas already made one significant deal this winter doesn’t mean the team wouldn’t make another one for Price.
- The Giants made their one-year deal with Ryan Vogelsong official (pending a physical) on Friday.
- Kansas City came to an agreement for a two-year extension with general manager Dayton Moore, which will last through 2016. Kansas City finished this season with a 86-76 record, its best since 1989. Moore was hired in 2006 and has developed one of baseball’s best farm systems in that time.
- The Tampa Bay Times’ Mark Topkin reports the Rays are re-signing right-hander Juan Carlos Oviedo as a bullpen piece.
– Joey Nowak
While most were taking the time on Thanksgiving to spend time with friends and family, baseball’s Hot Stove stayed warm. Here’s a quick roundup of what was happening around the baseball world on Thursday:
- After taking care of a deal with lefty reliever Javier Lopez, the Giants have set their sights now on re-signing starter Ryan Vogelsong, MLB.com‘s Chris Haft reports.The Giants have not commented on the matter, but Haft writes that momentum is carrying the two sides toward a one-year deal after the team declined his $6.5 million contract for 2014. The Braves, Phillies and Rangers are also interested in him.
Vogelsong went just 4-6 last year with a 5.73 ERA in 19 starts, but went 27-16 with a 3.05 ERA in 2011-12.
- Here’s one name that’s now off the market: Ted Lilly. The veteran left-handed confirmed to MLB.com‘s Ken Gurnick, after conflicting published comments have been reported in recent days, that he is indeed retiring because of chronic neck pain. He was limited to five starts in 2013, but finishes his career with a 130-113 record.
“I am retiring,” Lilly wrote in a text message. “I don’t want to, but I think it is the realistic decision.”
- After making a play for Ricky Nolasco, the Twins appear to be ready to make another move for the starting rotation, and it involves another American League arm. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has reported that Minnesota is likely to turn its attention to free agent Phil Hughes, and George A. King III of the New York Post has reported that Hughes is looking for a two-year deal.
Other teams that are reportedly in on Hughes include the Angels, Mariners and Royals.
- The Rockies have a mountainous hole at first base to fill with the departure of longtime icon Todd Helton to retirement. Colorado is reportedly interested in Justin Morneau taking over there, but the Denver Post‘s Troy Renck reports that James Loney is the team’s backup plan.
Loney had a strong year, hitting .299 with 13 homers and 75 RBIs last season while Morneau spent time in Minnesota and Pittsburgh, helping the Pirates to the postseason.
Renck writes that there’s mutual interest between the Rockies and Morneau because of a number of personal reasons, including his relationship with Michael Cuddyer and offseason home in Arizona.
- Pitcher Guillermo Moscoso has elected free agency, after clearing waivers and declining to accept an outright assignment in the Giants farm system.
- After not pitching in 2013 because of a tired shoulder, two-time All-Star Brad Penny is reportedly looking to make a Major League comeback.
– Joey Nowak
One rumored deal overtook the Hot Stove on Wednesday evening, when free-agent right-hander Ricky Nolasco reportedly agreed to a contract with the Twins, according to multiple reports.
According to Yahoo Sports, the contract is a four-year deal worth $49 million with a club option for 2018. The option is worth $13 million and can vest into a player option based on innings pitched in 2016-17.
Nolasco, 30, was one of the top free-agent starting pitchers on this year’s market. He is 89-75 with a 4.37 career ERA in 229 games (212 starts) over an eight-year career that was spent with the Marlins for all but the second half of last season after being traded to the Dodgers.
The other big news of the day were the first public comments from Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun since his 65-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs in July.
Braun talked to media following a food drive outside Miller Park, but did not get into any specifics or details about his violation of Major League Baseball’s drug policy.
“I wish I had the ability to go back and change things and do things a lot differently,” Braun said. “Unfortunately, I can’t do that. All I can do is move on, try to do everything in my power to earn people’s trust and respect and support. I don’t anticipate winning back everybody’s support, but I certainly intend to do everything in my power to do that.
“I won’t stop trying.”
Other news and notes from Wednesday around baseball:
- The Reds resigned reliever Manny Parra to a two-year, $5.5-million deal.
- Veteran left-hander Ted Lilly is evaluating retirement.
- MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby writes the Yankees won’t wait on Alex Rodriguez (appeal) and Robinson Cano (free agent) to make roster moves.
- Earlier in this space, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon opined on the Reds’ reported interest in free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltan.
- Royals left-hander Noel Arguelles cleared waivers and was out-righted to Triple-A Omaha.
- Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said his club has had “several conversations” about potential moves heading into the Winter Meetings.
- Former pitcher and war veteran Lou Brissie died. He was 89.
- The Rays unveiled their Spring Training schedule.
- Toronto’s Brett Lawrie, Pittsburgh’s Russell Martin, Seattle’s Michael Saunders, Cincinnati’s Joey Votto and free agent Justin Morneau are finalists for the James “Tip” O’Neill Award, which is given out annually to the Canadian player judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to baseball’s highest ideals.
- Orioles directer of player development Brian Graham will be honored at the Winter Meetings with the Sheldon “Chief” Bender Award. The honor is presented to an individual with distinguished service who has been instrumental in player development.
- Cash Kruth
The Twins have signed right-hander Ricky Nolasco, according to MLB Daily Dish, though terms and length of the deal have not yet been reported.
Nolasco, 30, was one of the top starting pitchers available on the free-agent market after going 8-3 with a 3.52 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) with the Dodgers after a summer trade from Miami.
Nolasco is 89-75 with a 4.37 career ERA in 229 games (212 starts) over an eight-year career that was spent with the Marlins for all but the second half of last season.
MLB.com has confirmed that Reds left-handed reliever Manny Parra is back with the Reds after he signed a two-year, $5.5 million contract on Wednesday. Parra will earn $2 million in 2014 and $3.5 million in 2015. He has already passed his physical.
The Reds have yet to make an announcement.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported it first.
Signed last winter as a free agent, Parra was 2-3 with a 3.33 ERA in 57 games. The 31-year-old walked 15 and struck out 56 in 46 innings of work.
Parra credited then-pitching coach Bryan Price for helping him with his turnaround as Price and assistant pitching coach Mack Jenkins developed his slider. Price is now the Reds manager, of course.
– Mark Sheldon
An unexpected team appears to have joined the fray with an inquiry about free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran.
Beltran told a Spanish language newspaper, Primera Hora, that the Reds have reached out to his representative, Dan Lozano. Beltran also told the reporter from the publication that he’d like to stay in the National League.
Beltran has been linked to several of the contenders in the American League this offseason, a list that includes but isn’t limited to Detroit, New York, Texas and Boston.
That Cincinnati could be a possibility for an in-demand free agent like Beltran is a little stunning since it is a small market club with limited payroll flexibility. It’s also a long shot that he becomes a Red.
The Reds would like to bring high-priced free agent Shin-Soo Choo back to play center field but are unlikely to meet his high salary demand. Choo is 31 while Beltran is 36, and could be signed for fewer years perhaps but with probably a very high yearly salary. Beltran made $13 million in each of the last two seasons.
Beltran would also have to switch spots. Primarily a right fielder for the Cardinals the past two seasons, the Reds already have Jay Bruce as their right fielder. The Reds also have Ryan Ludwick in left field.
– Mark Sheldon
Could the Royals really be interested in Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler as the Denver Post suggests?
Well, the Royals are looking for an impact bat but that didn’t seem to be Fowler’s profile this year when he hit .263 and had 12 homers but none after July 28. Of course, he was limited to 119 games by hand and knee injuries. His 2012 figures were much more promising: .300 with 13 homers and 53 RBIs.
Fowler has speed, defense and power potential going for him but not consistency and he wouldn’t come cheap. He’s signed for $7.35 million in 2014. Besides, the Royals seem happy with center fielder Lorenzo Cain and backup Jarrod Dyson.
The Rockies want pitching and the Royals are flush with bullpen talent so that could be a bargaining chip with almost any club.
Two of Robinson Cano’s representatives met on Tuesday with Yankees president Randy Levine and general manager Brian Cashman, according to a report by the Associated Press. Despite the meeting, however, the two sides apparently remain very far apart, according to the report’s source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Brodie Van Wagenen and Juan Perez of CAA Baseball met with the Yankees brass on Tuesday — and may meet again on Wednesday. Cano, himself, did not attend the meeting.
Cano’s camp remains set, for the time being anyways, on asking for the 10-year, $310 million contract that Cano said he would seek this offseason. The Yankees have said they won’t be offering up that caliber deal, but Tuesday’s meeting seems to indicate that the two sides are at least making progress.