Results tagged ‘ blue jays ’

Russell Martin close to a deal with the Yankees?

NEW YORK — While the Yankees await on the decision of one Cliff Lee, they have “continued to be aggressive” on free-agent catcher Russell Martin, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported on his Twitter account Monday, adding that it “would not be a surprise if we heard at any time of an agreement” between the two sides. 

Martin’s agent, Matt Colleran, didn’t immediately return a phone call from MLB.com seeking comment.

Non-tendered by the Dodgers, Martin has reportedly garnered the most serious interest from three American League East clubs — the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays. Of the three, the Red Sox appear to be the least interested.

With the aging Jorge Posada serving mostly as a designated hitter next year, New York is expected to go into the season with Jesus Montero, Austin Romine and Francisco Cervelli competing for playing time behind the plate. But general manager Brian Cashman has said he’s open to acquiring outside help. As of now, Montero is deemed by many as the favorite.

Martin, 27, was a back-to-back All-Star and among the National League’s best catchers from 2007-08. But after a down year in 2009, he was limited to 97 games in 2010 because of a broken hip.

– Alden Gonzalez  

Roundup: Reds locking up their players

The Reds haven’t brought in much outside help this offseason, but they’ve still been among the busiest teams in baseball. Their mission is keeping guys in-house. The club had already inked starter Bronson Arroyo to a three-year, $35 million extension. Then, late Thursday night, the club agreed on a six-year, $51 million contract with Jay Bruce, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon.

Now, they’re apparently turning their attention to Joey Votto and Johnny Cueto.

The Reds have been wanting to sign Votto, the reigning National League MVP, to some sort of extension, but ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick believes it won’t be for the six years that Bruce got. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Reds have also had preliminary discussions with Cueto about a long-term deal.

Here’s more from around the league on Friday …

* All was quiet on the Cliff Lee front as of Friday afternoon. The Rangers on Thursday presented Lee with a wide array of complex offers, and now, they wait. The Yankees had recently upped their proposal to seven years, but good friend CC Sabathia will give Lee his space, too. Is the ballyhooed left-hander agonizing over his decision right now? C.J. Wilson doesn’t think so. He thinks Lee is deer hunting.

* Young, non-tendered catcher Russell Martin could be close to making his decision. The Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays have been reported to have serious interest, with New York taking “an aggressive approach,” ESPN.com’s Buster Olney wrote via Twitter. He is said to be deciding between those three American League East teams.

* The Orioles made potential closer Kevin Gregg a two-year offer worth $8 to $10 million, according to the Baltimore Sun. Gregg seems to be negotiating with several teams right now. The question is whether the O’s would give him a chance to be their ninth-inning man.

* A few signings made today: The Royals got Melky Cabrera to be their center fielder; the Orioles resigned veteran infielder Cesar Izturis; the Brewers picked up catcher Wil Nieves; and the Braves officially signed lefty reliever George Sherrill.

* According to Olney, Jorge Cantu is one of the first basemen “seriously being considered” by the Diamondbacks. Cantu was a solid run-producer in the middle of the Marlins’ lineup the last two-plus years, but struggled while playing sparingly with the Rangers towards the end of the 2010 season.

– Alden Gonzalez 

Orioles reportedly made Gregg an offer

The Orioles, according to The Baltimore Sun, made free-agent reliever Kevin Gregg a two-year offer worth $8 to$10 million during the Winter Meetings.

Gregg, who served as the Blue Jays’ closer last year, also has interest from the Nationals, Pirates, Mariners and Red Sox, FOXSports.com reported recently.

The 32-year-old right-hander posted a 3.51 ERA, 1.390 WHIP and went 37-for-43 in save chances through 59 innings with Toronto in 2010. The Sun said Gregg is still negotiating with the O’s, who “still think they have a shot.”

One big factor in the negotiations could be whether Gregg would have the opportunity to close. Baltimore may choose to go with Koji Uehara in that spot.

– Alden Gonzalez 

Martin catching several AL East offers

Russell Martin has received interest from the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays, according to a report Friday in the New York Post.

Agent Matt Colleran named the three American League East teams among those having “serious discussions” about the backstop. The newspaper reported that the Yankees have extended a contract offer to make Martin their starting catcher, according to Colleran. 
The Yankees tried to trade for Martin before he was non-tendered by the Dodgers, dangling Francisco Cervelli, before pulling away due to health concerns. Rookie Jesus Montero is currently envisioned as the Yankees’ starting catcher, with Jorge Posada transitioning to the designated hitter role.
– Bryan Hoch

Roundup: Winter Meetings Day 2

While Day 2 of the Winter Meetings brought the continuation of talks for some big free agents like Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford, it also surfaced the names of other players such as Delwyn Young and Ronny Paulino.
Here’s a rundown of the day’s bigger rumors and speculation. 
- The Rays and Orioles have been discussing a trade, possibly involving Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett for outfielder/first baseman Nolan Reimold. While the talks are serious, the names involved vary and nothing is imminent, according to MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli. The Rays are interested in more than Reimold, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersberg Times. 
- The Nationals are continuing their aggressive offseason on Day 2 of the Meetings. Tuesday morning brought rumors from all corners that Washington was making a hard charge for Lee, possibly offer a seven-year deal. While other reports have contradicted that, a baseball source told MLB.com’s Bill Ladson that “The Nationals are not out of it by any means.” 
Several afternoon reports, including one Twitter report from SI.com’s Jon Heyman indicated that while there was a seven-year market for Cliff Lee, it wasn’t the Nationals. By all accounts on the Yankees side,  the club isn’t willing to go to a seventh year. 
- Free agent left-hander Mark Hendrickson is drawing some interest from the Rays and Mariners, FoxSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi tweeted on Tuesday. He added that the Orioles have kept tabs as well on the pitcher, whose value now is primarily as a reliever. 
- Add the Orioles to the list of teams who have talked to the Braves about Japanese pitcher Kenshin Kawakami, according to the Baltimore Sun. But Baltimore isn’t likely to pick up Kawakami from Atlanta, as the Braves are looking for outfield help, a baseball source told Dan Connolly of the Sun. 
-Left-hander Dennys Reyes could decide on a team within the next 48 hours, Morosi tweeted on Tuesday. The Phillies, Marlins, Mariners and Athletics have all been known to have interest. 
-Several teams are interested in utility man Delwyn Young, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tweeted. The Brewers, Marlins and Phillies are all talking to Young, who played second base, third base and right field last season. The 28-year-old elected free agency after being designated by the Pirates before the non-tender deadline. 
-After Monday’s news that the Royals were asking a very high price for Zack Greinke, it appears that teams are upping their offers for the ace, Ed Price of Yahoo Sports tweeted. While the Blue Jays and Rangers have been known to have serious interest in Greinke, the Nationals also recently inquired about him, CBSSports.com reported.
-Infielder Jorge Cantu has multiple teams interested, including the Padres, Mariners and D-backs, tweeted Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown. The 29-year-old split last season between the Marlins and Rangers, hitting .256. 
- The Mets are having serious discussions with reliever D.J. Carrasco, according to an ESPN New York.com report. The report characterizes the negotiations to bring the right-hander to New York as “fruitful.”
-While it’s just discussion at this point and considered quite unlikely, the Red Sox are at least talking internally about a potential Carlos Beltran trade, ESPN New York reported. Boston would consider the outfielder a last option if their other outfield pursuits fall part, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted. 
- The Mets are seemingly looking for a catcher to back up Josh Thole as on Tuesday morning ESPN New York reported the Mets were “closing in” on free agent Ronny Paulino. Other reports, including a tweet from Sherman, indicated the club was still talking to several backstops, but Paulino was one of them.
–Bailey Stephens

Brewers-Jays trade official

The scouts may be right, and 20-year-old infield prospect Brett Lawrie may indeed turn out to be the next Jeff Kent. But the Brewers need pitching today, and that’s why they pulled the trigger on their first trade of these Winter Meetings. 
The Brewers and Blue Jays on Monday announced the swap they set in place Sunday night, sending Toronto’s 2010 Opening Day starter Shaun Marcum to Milwaukee for Lawrie, a talented hitter who was widely considered the Brewers’ top prospect. 
The deal was met with some surprise in the lobby of the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin resort by a handful of rival executives who didn’t know Lawrie was available. The Langley, British Columbia native is coming off a solid season at Double-A Huntsville in which he batted .285 with eight home runs, 63 RBIs and 30 stolen bases. Sixty of Lawrie’s 158 hits went for extra-bases including 16 triples. 
In Marcum, the Brewers have a right-hander who, barring future deals, figures to join right-hander Yovani Gallardo and left-hander Randy Wolf in the top three slots of Milwaukee’s starting rotation. Marcum is arbitration-eligible again after earning $850,000 in 2010, and won’t reach free agency for two more seasons. 
“Shaun is an excellent strike-thrower and one of the better competitors we saw pitch last season,” Brewers GM Doug Melvin said in a statement.  “He has the ability to pitch at the top of the rotation along with Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf.  He fills a hole in our staff that we needed to fill.”
– Adam McCalvy

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: Arbitration decision deadline looms

There are an abundance of dates and deadlines in MLB’s offseason, but Tuesday night’s deadline for free agents to accept or decline arbitration offers could affect Hot Stove action heading into next week. 
Big name free agents, like Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth and Adrian Beltre all were offered and expected to decline.   
With the decisions made one way or the other, teams are better able to gain a sense of which players will be back with the club or conversely where funds might be available. That coupled with the impending Winter Meetings next week could finally get things moving on the free agent and trade markets.
The trade market did see some action on Tuesday afternoon as the Dodgers sent infielder Ryan Theriot to St. Louis in exchange for pitcher Blake Hawksworth. Los Angeles was expected to non-tender Theriot after signing Uribe, so the deal wasn’t altogether surprising. 
Theriot struggled after arriving in L.A. at the Trade Deadline, but owns a strong career batting average of .284. He will also bring some of his speed on the basepaths to the Cards lineup.
In a seperate move on Tuesday, the Cardinals added some pitching depth by inking veteran pitcher Brian Tallet. The 33-year-old left-hander had an off year with the Blue Jays in 2010, but could provide some valuable innings for the Cards.  
 
As we await the midnight arbitration deadline, here’s a look around the league on Tuesday:  
- The Rangers added a veteran pitcher off the International market on Tuesday, signing Japanese right-hander Yoshinori Tateyama. Tateyama, who will be 35 when Spring Training opens, signed a one year deal with two club options. Primarily a reliever in his career, Tateyama sported a career-best 1.80 ERA for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in 2010. 
-The Yankees have temporarily paused their talks with free agent shortstop Derek Jeter, but negotiations are expected to pick back up shortly. While the talks have stalled a bit, Jeter is still widely expected to been in pinstripes next season. One place he won’t be is Boston, according to SI.com’s Jon Heyman. The Red Sox reportedly have no plans to pursue Jeter with a long wish list of their own. If for some reason Jeter doesn’t return to the Bronx in 2011, the Yankees do have a backup plan, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, who tweeted that the team’s Plan B is Eduardo Nunez. 
- Veteran pitcher Jamie Moyer isn’t ready to call it quits, yet. The 48-year-old will undergo Tommy John surgery on his left elbow with hopes of making a comeback in time for the 2012 season. A free agent, Moyer originally injured the elbow  in July but had rehabbed with the goal of proving he was healthy in Winter Ball. In his first start this Winter, though, Moyer re-injured the elbow.  “We are cautiously optimistic superman will make a comeback!” he and his wife wrote on the page.
- The Dodgers have had an active winter, so far, but they might not be done yet. Free agent Johnny Damon is on the club’s radar, FoxSports.com reported Tuesday. Damon isn’t the only player the Dodgers have their eyes on. The club is looking at nearly every free agent catcher, including Jason Varitek and Rod Barajas, with catcher Russell Martin’s status up in the air.  
- The Royals have been pretty clear that they aren’t overly inclined to trade away Zack Greinke. In fact, one source with the club told Heyman that it’d take a blockbuster type deal to move the 2009 Cy Young pitcher. Greinke, though, could have other ideas. An acquaintance of Greinke’s also told Heyman that the 26-year old is “ready to go.” 
- With a particularly ripe market for free agent relievers, multiple teams have reportedly expressed interest in Jesse Crain. There is a mutual interest, between one of those clubs, the Blue Jays, and Crain, Fox Sports.com reported on Tuesday.
–Bailey Stephens

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 

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
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