Results tagged ‘ Athletics ’

Roundup: Thome returns to Twins, helps get Pavano

We are now exactly one month away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training, but there is offseason work to be done. And several teams were busy on Friday.

The Twins made the most noise with one move, signing Jim Thome to a one-year, $3 million contract that includes performance incentives based on plate appearances. Now, not only do they have a productive, veteran lefty slugger — one who was critical for them while Justin Morneau went down for the final three months of the season — but they may have a nice recruiting chip.

Thome is back, but the Twins still want to resign right-handed starter Carl Pavano, who was big for the Twins rotation behind staff ace Francisco Liriano. Thome, of course, feels the same way. So on Friday, while addressing his own new contract, he said: “Trust me, when I get off the phone with you [reporters], I will definitely be recruiting him and be sending him some text messages.”

General manager Paul Smith said the Twins are continuing in their negotiations with Pavano’s representation and hope to get a decision one way or another next week. Bringing back Thome certaintly can’t hurt their chances.

Here’s more from around the league Friday…

* The Athletics beefed up a bullpen that was already brimming with talented young arms, signing righty Grant Balfour to a two-year deal
with a third-year club option. According to The Associated Press,
Balfour is guaranteed $3.75 million in 2011 and $4 million in 2012.

* The Royals helped their thin rotation, signing left-hander Jeff Francis to a one-year contract that’s worth $2 million and includes performance bonuses.

* The Nationals introduced first baseman Adam LaRoche at a Friday afternoon

news conference at Nationals Park. It came after the two sides agreed
to terms a two-year deal worth about $16 million last week.

* The Mets and Cardinals dished out a few interesting Minor League contracts. New York inked Willie Harris, who’s all but guaranteed to be the backup outfielder and get somewhere between 250 and 400 plate appearances. St. Louis, meanwhile, brought in right-handers Miguel Batista and Ian Snell.

– Alden Gonzalez   

Roundup: Uggla, Lee signings official

The Reds on Thursday reportedly signed the reigning World Series MVP, while Dan Uggla‘s five-year extension with the Braves and first baseman Derrek Lee‘s one-year deal with the Orioles were officially announced.

 

According to an ESPN report, shortstop Edgar Renteria is joining the Reds after leading the charge for the Giants in the 2010 World Series. The one-year deal is reportedly worth $3 million.

Uggla, 31 next season, was introduced in a 2:30 p.m. ET press conference. He agreed to the $62 million deal with Atlanta after the Braves acquired him from the Marlins in November. With Florida last season, Uggla set career highs in batting average (.287), home runs (33) and RBIs (105).

Lee, 35, can make as much as $10 million with incentives as part of the deal, which has a $7.5 million base salary. He hit .260 with 19 homers and 80 RBIs between the Cubs and Braves last season.

Other news from Thursday:

? The Phillies invited seven non-roster players to Spring Training, the biggest name of the bunch being Delwyn Young. Also invited were infielder Robb Quinlan, catchers Tuffy Gosewisch and Joel Naughton and right-handers Brian Bass, Michael Schwimer and Michael Stutes. Young, 28, hit .236 with seven home runs and 28 RBI in 110 games for the Pirates last season.

? Left-hander J.C. Romero re-signed with the Phillies on a one-year, $1.35 million deal. He’s passed his physical.

? In addition to bringing in Renteria, the Reds are also on the verge of re-signing reliever Jared Burton on a one-year contract to avoid arbitration, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reported.

? The Nationals are not pursuing Carl Pavano, according to a report from MASN, while Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported on Twitter that the Pirates have interest in the free agent right-hander.

? The Orioles, Rays, and yes, the Angels, have shown varying amounts of interest in Vladimir Guerrero, according to ESPNDeportes. But Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register said on Twitter that he thinks Anaheim is an unlikely destination for the free-agent designated hitter.

? FOXSports.com reported via Twitter that Rafael Soriano is unlikely to end up in Texas now that the Rangers have signed Adrian Beltre. An ESPN report quoted Soriano’s agent Scott Boras as saying Soriano is open to non-closing roles, which is what he would have to take behind Mariano Rivera.

? The Indians officially added Austin Kearns to their 40-man roster, designating Jordan Brown to make room. Kearns signed with Cleveland in December.

? Free-agent left-hander Brian Fuentes wants to close in 2011, according to FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi.

Roundup: A’s out on Beltre?

The market for free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre continued to evolve on Wednesday amidst reports that another team was out of the mix.
The Athletics ended talks with Beltre this week to turn their focus toward other players, Fox Sports.com reported. 
Oakland entered the bidding for Beltre early on this offseason, reportedly offering him an initial five-year, $64 million deal. Until this week, the club continued to negotiate with Beltre.
While the Angels remain the front runners to land Beltre, the Rangers are still interested but aren’t comfortable with his price tag, the report suggested. For Texas, adding Beltre would meaning moving Michael Young to designated hitter or to another club, two unlikely concepts.
The Halos reportedly made a five-year, $70 million offer to Beltre earlier this month, a figure that the Rangers aren’t believed to be willing to approach. Scott Boras, Beltre’s agent, is reportedly seeking a deal in the neighborhood of five-years, $85 million. Angels owner Arte Moreno told the Los Angeles Times earlier this month that the club had made a “significant offer” to Beltre and it wouldn’t be increasing.
Oakland entered the bidding for Beltre early on this offseason, reportedly offering him an initial five-year, $64 million deal. Until this week, the club continued to negotiate with Beltre, according to the report.
There are several other unmentioned clubs who could be interested in Beltre, the report suggested, including the Orioles and Blue Jays.
The 31-year-old is coming off a very strong campaign in Boston, hitting .321 with 28 homers and 49 doubles. After missing out on free agent Carl Crawford, Beltre would add some of the desired power to the Angels lineup. 
Here’s a look Wednesday’s news from around the league: 
- The Orioles’ bullpen wish-list continues to take shape as the club has “definite interest” in free agent reliever Grant Balfour, MASNsports.com reported on Wednesday. Signing Balfour would mean the Orioles would have to forfeit a Draft pick, as the right-hander is a Type-A free agent. 
- Additional details on Octavio Dotel’s deal with the Blue Jays emerged on Wedesday as Fox Sports.com reported that the deal includes a favorable $3.75 million option for 2012, leaving the door open for a possible return. The deal also allows for the Jays to recoup Draft picks if Dotel departs as a Type-B free agent after next season. 
- The Yanks have checked in with free agent Rafael Soriano, SI.com’s Jon Heyman reported on Wednesday. Soriano would obviously have to move to a role outside the 9th inning to find in a fit in the Bronx. 
– Bailey Stephens

Roundup: Webb to Texas

He’s not Cliff Lee, but he’s a late Christmas gift for the Rangers nonetheless.
Right-hander Brandon Webb and the Rangers have reached on a one-year, incentive-heavy deal, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan confirmed on Sunday.
Webb narrowed his choice to Texas and a National League Central mystery team according to an ESPN.com report from earlier the day. The Cubs and Nationals were thought to be in the running.
The Rangers hadn’t made their interest in the right-hander a secret after losing out on Cliff Lee. Among the NL Central teams, the Reds were likely the principal challenger to Texas, FoxSports.com reported.
Webb won the 2006 NL Cy Young but hasn’t pitched in a regular season game since 2009 because of injury. A successful stint on a one-year deal this season would allow him to re-establish his value and set himself up for a larger multiyear deal next year.
For Texas, Webb could fill a spot in a starting rotation that already includes C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis and Tommy Hunter.
Here’s a look at some of the post-Christmas odds and ends from around the league on Sunday:
- While the Yankees had internal talks about adding Manny Ramirez earlier this offseason, they currently have no interest in signing him, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted on Sunday. With three starting outfielders and Jorge Posada set to serve as the designated hitter, there’s currently no place for Ramirez’s bat in the Bronx. 
- Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma has re-signed with the Rakuten Golden Eagles for next season, Jason Coskrey of the Japan Times tweeted on Sunday. Iwakuma seemingly doesn’t want to discuss a move to MLB any further until he qualifies for international free agency after the 2011 season, Coskrey added. Earlier this offseason, Iwakuma could not reach an agreement with the Athletics after Oakland won the right to negotiate with him.
- Free agent Carl Pavano will continue to hold out for a three-year deal, the Boston Globe reported on Sunday. The Twins, Rangers, Nats and Mariners are among the teams who continue to have interest, the paper reported with the stipulation that Seattle would have to free up some money first. Pavano could be nearing a decision as MLB.com’s Bill Ladson reported on Friday that he would decide after Christmas.
– Bailey Stephens

Harden to make Oakland return

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday that the A’s have brought back Rich Harden on a one-year, $1.5 million deal with incentives.

Harden was drafted by Oakland in the 17th round in 2000 and spent his first five big league years there before being traded to the Cubs during his sixth, 2008.
Plagued by injuries year-in and year-out, Harden hasn’t reached 150 innings since his career high of 189 2/3 in 2004. Still, on an inexpensive contract — even if his velocity has taken a hit as his injuries have mounted — he’s a perennial low-risk, high-reward guy.
It’s been a busy week for the A’s, who also brought in Hideki Matsui, Brandon McCarthy and Joey Devine.

Roundup: 1B locked up in Windy City

Day 3 of the Winter Meetings saw a couple of slugging first
basemen land in Chicago, as the White Sox resigned
their captain
, Paul Konerko, and the Cubs took
a chance on Carlos Pena
.

The Konerko deal was somewhat surprising, considering talks between the two
sides seemed to be on life support just a day ago. But even after signing Adam
Dunn
, Chicago was able to give Konerko a three-year, $37.5 million to form what looks like one of the best lineups in baseball for 2011.

With the Cubs, Pena is reunited with his old esteemed hitting coach, Rudy
Jaramillo
, and receives what super-agent Scott Boras referred to as
a “pillow contract” — because, as Boras said, it’s comfortable for both
sides. That deal is for one year and $10 million, as Pena will try to rebuild
his worth after hitting 28 homers but batting below .200 in 2010.

Here’s more from around the league on Wednesday …

* No more fooling around for the Yankees. They’re ready to make ballyhooed
free-agent starter Cliff Lee a
preliminary offer
of six years and between $140 and $150 million, MLB.com’s
Bryan Hoch confirmed. Will that be enough, considering reports of mystery teams
offering seven years?

* The Rangers met with Carl Crawford‘s agent, according to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan.

* Adrian Beltre is still open to signing with the Athletics, according
to Boras. Boras also said negotiations for his third-base client are moving
quickly, and that the Angels are a very possible suitor.  

* There had been several reports that the Red Sox would be interested in
trading for Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran. But Boras, who represents
him, says Beltran plans
to be a Met
in 2011. That’s significant, considering he has a no-trade clause.

* Five teams are seriously pursuing Zack Greinke while another three are
“on the periphery,” according to FOXSports.com. It still seems like
he’d be tough
to move
, however. The Royals are specific with what they want: pitching and
up-the-middle help.

* The Red Sox, according to CBS Sports, are zeroing in on Magglio Ordonez
to fill their outfield void, which would not be good news for Crawford. The Tigers are also checking.

* The Twins continue their
interest
in resigning Carl Pavano, but they have competition. The
Brewers, according to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, have
also met with Pavano
. The Nationals are another club known to have
interest. 

* In less-heralded one-year deals on Wednesday, the Mariners signed
non-tendered designated hitter Jack Cust
; the Royals brought
in outfielder Jeff Francoeur
; the D-backs were reportedly on the verge of signing catcher Henry
Blanco
and veteran lefty Mike Hampton (Minor League deal); the
Braves acquired non-tendered lefty reliever George Sherrill; and the Dodgers were close to bringing back Russell Martin
 

– Alden Gonzalez 

Rockies have interest in Berkman

Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd has said it’s doubtful he can land a big bat, but he’s trying. According to The Denver Post, the Rockies have aggressively pursued switch-hitting Lance Berkman to play the outfield corners and occasionally spell Todd Helton at first base.

The key here would be Berkman’s desire to return to the National League. Berkman saw a dramatic drop in his power with the Astros and Yankees last season, although finished he year with the Yankees as a designated hitter on an upswing as far as average is concerned.

An important aspect of the pursuit of Berkman, according to the Post, is Helton would be on board with bringing in Berkman. The two have the same agent. Helton helped the Rockies recruit Jason Giambi as his backup last season, but by season’s end Helton admitted not playing nearly every game was difficult. Still, the Rockies need a solid alternative, given Helton’s history of back problems and his age.

The Rockies desire a right-handed corner bat, preferably one that can play some first base. Berkman has more power from the left than from the right, but he fits — if the price is right. The Cardinals, Blue Jays and Athletics also have pursued Berkman.

The Mariners’ Jose Lopez, if he’s non-tendered, Jorge Cantu, whom the Rockies considered trading for last season, and Troy Glaus are acknowledged targets. The Rockies also are looking at the Athletics, who appear to be deciding whether to non-tender Edwin Encarnacion or Colorado native Kevin Kouzmanoff.

Some current Rockies will no doubt be watching the situation closely. Third baseman Ian Stewart and outfielders Seth Smith and Ryan Spilborghs could potentially lose playing time, depending on who is signed. Interestingly, the Rockies hired Carney Lansford as hitting coach and charged him with the task of waking up the bats of all three. Stewart and Smith didn’t meet the club’s expectations for production last year. Spilborghs finished strong but struggled with strikeouts early.

– Thomas Harding

 

Roundup: Dodgers swipe Uribe from division rivals

With one week remaining until the start of the usually-hectic Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., the busy Dodgers made another move, agreeing to terms with Juan Uribe on a three-year deal reportedly worth about $21 million.

With Uribe, the Dodgers swipe a big piece of the Giants’ World Series championship run away from their division rivals and add a much-needed right-handed power bat to the middle of the lineup. Uribe played 103 games at shortstop, 26 at third base and 24 at second while batting .248 with 24 homers and 85 RBIs in 2010 (not including a postseason run that saw him drive in nine runs in 14 games).

In Los Angeles, he figures to start at second base, which will likely lead to the non-tendering of Trade Deadline acquisition Ryan Theriot. Despite dealing with instability up top, the Dodgers had already locked up their rotation by re-signing Ted Lilly and acquiring Jon Garland

Here’s more from around the league …

* The Rangers signed catcher Yorvit Torrealba to a two-year
contract. Torrealba, a 10-year veteran who played in 95 games for the
Padres in 2010 — batting .271 with seven homers and 37 RBIs while
starting 89 games — fills a void left by Bengie Molina (likely retired) and Matt Treanor (free agent). The deal, according to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, is worth $6.25 million.  

* They also avoided an arbitration hearing with Mark Lowe and agreed on a one-year contract. The deal is worth $1.2 million, plus another $100,000 in incentives.

* A source told ESPNNY.com the Yankees believe Derek Jeter and his agent, Casey Close, need to “drink the reality potion.” The unnamed source told the Web site the Yankees are still not budging from their three-year, $45 million offer, and Jeter still seeks a longer contract between $23 million and $25 million per season. Talks between the two sides did not take place during the holiday weekend and none are currently scheduled, ESPNNY.com added.

* While the Jeter negotiations appear heated, ESPNNY.com added that talks between the Yankees and Mariano Rivera are “progressing much smoother.” Rivera will likely receive a bump from his 2010 salary, probably in the $16-17 million range, but the question remains whether he gets one or two years.

* Free-agent first baseman/outfielder/designated hitter Lance Berkman was originally disappointed the Astros didn’t want him back, but the Texas product told The Houston Chronicle “there’s been a lot of interest” in his services. Berkman specifically named the Cardinals, Cubs, Rockies, Athletics, Pirates and Blue Jays as teams who have been in touch, but added he hasn’t received a formal offer yet. Berkman has said he’d prefer to play in the National League, adding that he’s still capable of serving as an outfielder and first baseman.

* The Astros have talked about the possibility of an extension with right-hander Wandy Rodriguez, general manager Ed Wade told The Houston Chronicle. Rodriguez hits free agency after the 2011 season.    

* The Mets will do their due diligence in shopping shortstop Jose Reyes this winter, but considering his value has never been lower, it would be shocking if they actually went ahead and traded him, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo writes.

* The Twins have until late December to agree on a contract with Japanese middle infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who sounds like someone excited to play in Minnesota. In quotes passed along by The Minneapolis Star Tribune, Nishioka told the Japanese press he has no preference between shortstop and second base and said, “I don’t think that I will give up the idea of going to the Majors because of the amount of money.”

“Minnesota Twins has been contending to the playoff every year,” he added. “To play for the good team is one of my wishes. I am happy that I could advance one step forward.” The Twins won their exclusive-negotiating for Nishioka on Friday and could use him to fill their middle-infield needs.

– Alden Gonzalez 

11/23 Berkman wants to play

The Cubs are in pursuit of a first baseman this offseason and one option could be Lance Berkman. He told FoxSports.com that the Cubs are one of the teams that has inquired about him. Berkman said the A’s have been the “most aggressive” in terms of contact. He would like to return to the National League, which would work in the Cubs’ favor. He made $14.5 million last season and would have to accept less money to sign with the Cubs.

Berkman, who will be 35 on Feb. 10, said he was limited in 2010 after arthroscopic surgery to clean out his left knee.

“I’m probably viewed as a declining player,” Berkman told FoxSports.com. “I don’t blame teams for thinking like that. But I don’t view myself that way. If I was to honestly assess where I’m at, I feel like last year was the result of me being hurt.

“My knee was hurt all year. The kind of injury I had prevented me from using my legs when I hit. In my mind, I can scratch that off and say that I’ll be healthy next year, be the player I was prior to the 2009 season. That’s kind of how I’m looking at it.

“Obviously, I’ve got to get an opportunity,” he said. “I’ve got to go out there and prove it.”

– Carrie Muskat

Roundup: Arbitration decisions looming

Thanksgiving week is upon us, but there’s still plenty of time for the Hot Stove before the turkey hits the table. There’s also tomorrow’s deadline for team’s to decide if they want to offer arbitration to their eligible free agents. A lot of factors go in to team’s decisions this time of year, but keep in mind that teams can make offers of arbitration to free agents, even if they plan to decline and depart, in order to reap the draft benefits. What impact will this have on the free agent market? Only time will tell but with these decisions on the horizon, let’s take a brief look at what’s going on around the league: 
-Speaking of the arbitration deadline, one of the Orioles biggest decisions leading up to it will be whether or not to offer arbitration to reliever Koji Uehara. According to MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli, the O’s have shown significant interest in retaining Uehara, and have remained in contact with his representatives. Uehara, who served as the O’s closer down the stretch, registered a 2.86 ERA out of the ‘pen in 2010. His strong season could put him in line for a significant raise, perhaps netting upwards of $8 million, Ghiroli speculated. 
- Justin Upton talks have continued after the general manager meetings. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported last Friday that 15-16 teams had approached the D-backs about acquiring the young slugger. Upton has four teams on his no-trade list, including the Athletics, Mariners, Tigers and Royals. On Monday, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.com clarified on Twitter that the Mariners were one of the teams Upton had chosen to block from acquiring him, not the Indians as he had previously reported. The Blue Jays, Marlins, Orioles, Red Sox, Royals and Yankees have been said to have interest in Upton. 
- Free agent Eric Hinske is being courted in the early stages of the offseason by the Braves and the Brewers, according to a Twitter report from Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. The 33-year-old hit .256 with 11 home runs in a bench/platoon role with Atlanta last year. Hinske has said he’d like to return to the Braves, who according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman offered the outfielder/first baseman a one-year deal in the range of $1.5 million last week. Hinske is said to be looking for a two-year deal. 
- There are six or seven teams interested in free agent right-hander Brandon McCarthy, according to a report from Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com. Teams interested in McCarthy include the Athletics, Astros, D-backs, Brewers, Padres, Mariners, and Tigers. McCarthy, who has endured his share of shoulder injuries, has been looking good in the Dominican Winter League, Morosi noted. 
- The A’s pitching situation for 2011 is apparently still evolving amidst the news that talks with Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma have stalled. The two sides will still have until Dec. 7 to hammer out a deal, but it’s not looking good. According to Iwakuma’s agent Don Nomura, the A’s offered Iwakuma a four-year deal worth $15.25 million. Iwakuma and his agent, though, were looking for something more similar to the contracts of Hiroki Kuroda (three years, $35.3 million) and Daisuke Matsuzaka (six years, $52 million).
Stay tuned to the MLB.com Hot Stove blog for updates on all the action. 
Bailey Stephens
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 650 other followers