Results tagged ‘ Brewers ’
The starting-pitching market currently is focused on Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, whose recent posting opened up what is sure to be a hotly contested bidding war. The 25-year-old is expected to command at least $17 million per season, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
But another free agent who didn’t throw a single Major League pitch last season also seems to be drawing plenty of interest. Lefty Mark Mulder, a 36-year-old former All-Star who last played in 2008, has been making a comeback attempt with a revamped delivery after injuries derailed his career. The experiment has been promising enough that Mulder is mulling over offers from seven teams, with The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reporting that the Angels are “emerging as [a] front-runner.”
In other news from around the league on Friday:
- Tanaka could be the latest addition in an aggressive offseason for the Mariners, although GM Jack Zduriencik declined to comment on any interest he might have. Meanwhile, the hype machine is working at full force with Tanaka, writes our Terence Moore.
- Shin-Soo Choo, who signed a seven-year, $130 million contract with the Rangers, was introduced at the Ballpark in Arlington, with both sides describing it as a “perfect fit.” That financial commitment could make it difficult for Texas to sign Tanaka and almost certainly means that free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz won’t be returning.
- The Angels officially added a powerful left-handed bat, finalizing their one-year contract with veteran slugger Raul Ibanez.
- The Cubs announced their one-year contract with free-agent righty Jose Veras, who is set to take over as the club’s new closer.
- The Mets continue to shop first baseman Ike Davis, reports the New York Post’s Mike Puma, who tweeted that the club is talking to the Brewers, Orioles and Pirates.
- Former Cubs and Rays outfielder Sam Fuld, is deciding between Minor League deals from five teams, according to Zach Links of MLBTradeRumors.com. Each offer includes an invitation to big-league Spring Training.
– Andrew Simon
The Marlins have signed infielder Casey McGehee to a one-year deal.
McGehee, who has played first, second and third base, has not played in the big leagues since 2012 with the Yankees. He appeared in 114 games combined between the Pirates and Yankees that season, batting .217 with nine home runs and 41 RBIs.
The 31-year-old played for Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Pacific League of Nippon Professional Baseball last season, leading the team to its first Japan Series championship. He He played in all 144 regular season games — batting .292 with 28 home runs and 93 RBIs — and hit .289 in 11 postseason games.
The pool of potential closers available on the free-agent market shrank on Tuesday, when the Hot Stove was focused on relief pitching.
The Orioles were on the hunt for a closer after trading Jim Johnson to the A’s earlier this offseason, and they now appear set to use some of the savings from that deal on Oakland’s former closer. Grant Balfour, who saved 38 games for the A’s in 2013, reportedly is in agreement on a two-year contract with Baltimore.
The Cubs also might have snatched up a new ninth-inning man after reaching a reported one-year pact with Jose Veras. That would leave Fernando Rodney, Joaquin Benoit, Rafael Betancourt and Chris Perez among a dwindling group of free agents with recent success as closers. The Padres appear to be targeting Benoit for an eighth-inning role in front of Huston Street.
In other news from around the league:
- Highly touted Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka has informed his Nippon Professional Baseball club, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, that he wants to be made available to Major League teams. But even with NPB and MLB having a new posting agreement in place, the Eagles do not have to post Tanaka, and it appears they might be reluctant to do so.
- One club that figures to pursue Tanaka if he becomes available is Arizona, which is looking to add more starting pitching this offseason.
- The Yankees are close to signing a pair of veteran players, reportedly reaching an agreement on a one-year deal with second baseman Brian Roberts and a two-year contract with left-handed reliever Matt Thornton. Meanwhile, New York still would like to add free agent Mark Reynolds but is facing competition from the Angels and Twins, among others, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and MLB Network. Jeff Baker is another veteran bat drawing interest from the club, per the New York Post’s Joel Sherman.
- The Braves’ search for additional starting pitching likely concluded with Monday’s signing of Gavin Floyd to a one-year contract, despite the fact that the righty won’t be ready until May as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery. Atlanta had explored trades for the likes of the Rays’ David Price and the Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija but found the asking prices too steep.
- Our Tom Singer checks in on free-agent righty A.J. Burnett, who has yet to make a decision about whether to retire, return to the Pirates or perhaps pitch for another team. It’s a delay that is making things difficult for Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington.
- After losing out on Juan Uribe, the Marlins continue to search for a third baseman. The club is looking at both free agents and trade possibilities.
- The Mets’ top priority is to trade one of its first basemen, Ike Davis or Lucas Duda. The Brewers and Pirates are the two remaining clubs that seem like obvious trade partners for such a deal. Pittsburgh is interested in both Davis and the Rangers’ Mitch Moreland, according to Heyman.
- The Cardinals’ recent signing of free-agent second baseman Mark Ellis likely will turn out to be their last significant move of the offseason, as GM John Mozeliak acknowledged on Tuesday.
- On the other hand, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said his club still is looking hard at free agents, with the bullpen one area to address. Houston already has signed relievers Chad Qualls and Matt Albers.
– Andrew Simon
Baseball’s Winter Meetings ended on Thursday, but that doesn’t mean the Hot Stove came to a halt on Friday.
Even with general managers, agents and media members gone from Lake Buena Vista, Fla., the action continued, and the free-agent market continued to grow thinner. A pair of players reportedly agreed to new contracts, with first baseman James Loney set to return to the Rays on a three-year deal and second baseman Omar Infante heading to Kansas City on a four-year agreement.
In other news from around the league:
- The Yankees introduced new center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, making his seven-year, $153 million contract official.
- Former Yankee Robinson Cano saw two pieces of lineup protection added to his new club, as the Mariners held an introductory press conference for Corey Hart and Logan Morrison. Those additions do not signal the end of Seattle’s offseason shopping, however.
- The Rockies finalized their two-year agreement with first baseman Justin Morneau and also have reportedly signed lefty reliever Boone Logan to a three-year pact.
- The Red Sox made their two-year deal with Mike Napoli official. Teammate David Ortiz, whose contract with the Red Sox expires after the 2014 season, is looking for a one-year extension.
- The Pirates announced a pair of one-year contracts, re-signing shortstop Clint Barmes and adding right-hander Edinson Volquez.
- The Tigers announced their one-year agreement with reliever Joba Chamberlain.
- Our Paul Hagen runs down the top names still available after the Winter Meetings.
- With free-agent options dwindling, the Brewers could turn to the trade market to fill their need for a first baseman, our Adam McCalvy writes.
- Might the Braves really trade stud closer Craig Kimbrel? Our Mark Bowman tackles that question in his latest inbox article.
- Outfielder Jason Kubel, coming off a rough 2012 with the D-backs and Indians, is returning to the Twins after signing a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.
- The D-backs signed right-hander Daniel Hudson and catcher Henry Blanco to Minor League deals with Spring Training invites. Hudson, who hasn’t pitched since early ‘12 due to injury, was non-tendered earlier this month.
- The Marlins continue to have interest in free-agent third baseman Juan Uribe, writes our Joe Frisaro.
– Andrew Simon
The Mariners reached a deal with free agent first baseman-outfielder Corey Hart on Wednesday, our Greg Johns reports. The deal, which the team has not confirmed, won’t be official until Hart completes a physical on Friday.
The deal is for one year, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and MLB Network.
Hart missed all of last season while recovering from knee surgery, but the 31-year-old, a nine-year veteran, had an .857 OPS for the Brewers from 2010-12, averaging 29 home runs and 83 RBIs.
Seattle also pulled off a trade for first baseman Logan Morrison, sending right-handed reliever Carter Capps to the Marlins.
Morrison also has battled injuries, playing a total of 178 games over the past two years. The 26-year-old left-handed batter hit .242/.333/.375 with six home runs in 333 plate appearances for Miami last season.
Capps, 23, had a 5.49 ERA in 53 appearances with the Mariners in 2013, striking out 66 in 59 innings.
– Andrew Simon
The Royals moved to upgrade their outfield on Thursday morning, acquiring outfielder Norichika Aoki from the Brewers for left-handed pitcher Will Smith.
Aoki, who turns 32 in January, played two seasons for the Brewers after signing out of Japan. Last season he played in 155 games, mostly in right field, and hit .286/.356/.370 with eight home runs, 37 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. He is set to make $1.95 million in the final year of his contract.
The 24-year-old Smith has spent parts of two seasons with the Royals. He posted a 5.32 ERA over 16 starts in 2012 but bounced back with a 3.24 mark in 19 appearances last season, including 18 out of the bullpen. He also struck out 43 batters in 33 1/3 innings.
The Royals’ acquisition of Aoki will not impact their pursuit of free agent Carlos Beltran, according to a tweet from Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and MLB Network. Rosenthal added that trading for Aoki increases the likelihood that signing Beltran would lead Kansas City to deal away designated hitter Billy Butler.
– Andrew Simon
With baseball’s hot stove at a full boil and the Winter Meetings a week away, free agent first baseman/outfielder Corey Hart finally got the good news on Tuesday that he had eagerly been anticipating.
“Cleared!” Hart wrote in a text message to MLB.com, indicating he had been medically cleared for full baseball activities by the surgeon who performed the second of Hart’s two knee surgeries this year.
Hart, 31, is a free agent for the first time after sitting out the entire 2013 season, having undergone right knee surgery in January and then left knee surgery in July. He had been rehabbing in recent weeks by running and participating in agility drills, but Hart’s formal foray into the open market was on hold while he awaited final medical clearance from Dr. Neal ElAttrache. The two met Tuesday in Los Angeles.
With his medical clearance in hand, Hart is ready to begin fielding offers from interested clubs. He said last month that a number of teams, including the Brewers, Rays, Red Sox and Rockies, had called to check in, but clubs were not willing to discuss contract parameters until Hart was fully functional.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Hart had yet to receive any offers. Asked this week whether Hart would have an offer in hand from the Brewers before the start of next week’s Winter Meetings, Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin said, “There’s a possibility he will.”
Another potential suitor may have fallen off the board Tuesday, just as Hart was sharing his good news. The Rockies were reportedly moving toward a two-year deal with another first baseman, Justin Morneau.
– Adam McCalvy
The Red Sox added a piece to their bullpen on Friday, acquiring right-handed reliever Burke Badenhop from the Brewers for Minor League lefty Luis Ortega.
Badenhop posted a 3.47 ERA across 62 1/3 innings in his first season with the Brewers and has been tough on right-handed batters throughout his career. This year, he held them to a .229 average.
Brewers.com beat writer Adam McCalvy tweets that Milwaukee felt its middle-relief depth made the arbitration-eligible Badenhop expendable.
More info to come on MLB.com.
– Andrew Simon
The Royals made the biggest move of the day on Thursday, bolstering their starting rotation by signing free-agent left-hander Jason Vargas to a four-year, $32 million contract. Vargas, who will turn 31 in February, went 9-8 with a 4.02 ERA last season for the Angels, who now have another hole to fill on their staff.
Meanwhile, Wednesday night’s big trade between the Rangers and Tigers continued to hold the baseball world’s attention. The swap of Ian Kinsler and Prince Fielder could have far-reaching implications. Among them:
- The trade gives the Tigers additional financial flexibility they could use to pursue contract extensions for Max Scherzer and/or Miguel Cabrera, writes our Jason Beck. There also is the issue of how Detroit will adjust defensively, with Cabrera likely shifting to first and opening up a spot at third that could be filled by top prospect Nick Castellanos.
- The ripple effects from the deal could surface in Cincinnati, says our Mark Sheldon, impacting the Reds’ potential plans to move second baseman Brandon Phillips.
- Kinsler’s departure from Texas likely eliminates the possibility of the Rangers parting with Elvis Andrus. That gives the Cardinals one fewer option in their pursuit of a shortstop, as our Jenifer Langosch explains.
In other news from around the league on Thursday:
- The Tigers moved quickly to their next order of business, re-signing lefty Phil Coke to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration.
- The Giants have agreed to a deal to keep left-handed specialist Javier Lopez in San Francisco, with multiple reports indicating he will receive a three-year contract.
- The Angels and Cardinals have discussed a swap that would send third baseman David Freese to Anaheim in exchange for an outfielder, such as Peter Bourjos.
- After adding Josh Johnson to their starting rotation, the Padres will return their focus to acquiring a left-handed hitter, tweets our Corey Brock.
- Our Adam McCalvy writes that the Brewers aren’t likely to trade Ryan Braun but could move him from left field to right.
- Ike Davis tells our Anthony DiComo that while he would like to stay with the Mets, he understands that there is a significant chance the club could deal him this offseason.
- Lance Berkman’s agent told Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that his client is leaning toward retirement. The 15-year veteran, who turns 38 in February, posted a .700 OPS for the Rangers last season, and injuries have limited him to 105 games over the past two years.
- The agent for free-agent catcher Brian McCann told Alex Speier of Boston’s WEEI that his client is willing to spend some time at first base and designated hitter with a new team.
- The Rays are working toward a two-year deal to retain the services of catcher Jose Molina, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
- The Dodgers and Giants have free-agent right-hander Dan Haren among their targets as they look to add pitching, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and MLB Network.
- Although outfielder Curtis Granderson became a free agent when he rejected the Yankees’ qualifying offer, the club remains interested in bringing him back, reports the New York Post.
– Andrew Simon
The Rockies’ pursuit of veteran right-hander LaTroy Hawkins, which resulted in a one-year, $2.5 million guarantee that will become official once Hawkins passes a physical, can be seen in an odd way as a compliment to young lefty Rex Brothers, who served capably as closer when veteran Rafael Betancourt was injured.
Brothers, who turns 26 on Dec. 18, went 19-of-21 on save chances and finished with a 1.74 ERA last season. At times he struggled putting away hitters early in innings but he still struck out 76 (against 36 walks) in 67 1/3 innings. It certainly is a signal that he could become even more effective.
But before Betancourt went through a right groin strain, an appendectomy and finally a season-ending elbow injury, many of Betancourt’s save opportunities came partly because of Brothers’ effectiveness as a setup man. Brothers’ club-record 30-inning scoreless streak, which covered 32 games, ran from April 10 to June 27. Only the final nine games of the streak came while he was in the closer role.
As the season progressed, several games ended with Brothers not even taking the mound, because the middle relief and setup men pitched away the lead. It’s the old sabermetric argument: Why have the best option sitting in the bullpen while lesser pitchers blow it?
Hawkins ended up an effective closer for the Mets late last season. He earned all 12 of his saves and blew just one from Aug. 6 to season’s end. He struck out 18 against one walk and held opponents to a .222 batting average in those 23 appearances. At 41, he still throws hard enough and deceptively enough to be trusted with the final inning. The Rockies believe if he holds the closer job, it frees them to use Brothers when the game is tight before the ninth. And if plans change and Brothers at some point ends up the closer — which has been his plan his entire career — Hawkins gives them an attractive option in a setup role.
The Rockies still want to shore up the setup roles through free agency. Signing Hawkins as closer likely takes them out of the chase for Brian Wilson and Grant Balfour, who could be invited to pitch the ninth inning by another club. But a hard throwers such as Jesse Crain, Joe Smith or Jose Veras could further fill the Rockies’ needs.
The attempt to load up the back of the bullpen makes for intriguing competition and decisions when it comes to holdovers from last season. The club likes the 96 mph-plus fastball that righty Chad Bettis brought last season when used in relief, and will keep him there rather than revisit him in the rotation. They tested righty Adam Ottavino in late innings and there were some encouraging numbers, such as a 2.00 ERA at Coors Field. Righty Mitchell Boggs finished up with the Rockies after struggling mightily with the Cardinals when forced into the closer role, and the club is having internal discussions about returning him to a starter role. Boggs started 15 of his first 24 big-league appearances when breaking in with the Cards in 2008 and 2009.
The Rockies also continue to be in the market for starting pitching, although it’s unclear exactly where they’ll look. They’re often leery of accomplishment elsewhere because of the Mike Hampton-Denny Neagle experiment a few years back, but Tim Hudson profiled well. However, Hudson decided to take his passion and intensity to the NL West with the Giants.
Left-handed hitting outfielder-first baseman James Loney continues to be a prime candidate for the corner bat the Rockies seek. Corey Hart, coming off a knee injury, told a satellite radio audience on Tuesday that the Rockies, Red Sox and his former team, the Brewers, have checked in with him. Not much will be known until next month, when he is cleared for full activity. What isn’t clear is how strongly the Rockies are pursuing first baseman Mike Napoli, whose ability to make a pitcher work would fit nicely at first base. However, with his 2013 team, the World Series champion Red Sox, and others in the mix, the Rockies may drop out of the bidding the way they did with catcher Carlos Ruiz, who re-signed with the Phillies on Monday.
– Thomas Harding