Results tagged ‘ cubs ’
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
Right-hander Guillermo Moscoso has elected to continue his career in Japan, agreeing on Thursday to sign with Nippon Professional Baseball’s Yokohama Bay Stars, according to Nikkan Sports.
Moscoso has struggled since his 2011 breakout season, posting a 6.12 ERA over 50 innings with the Rockies in ’12 and a 5.10 ERA over 30 frames with the Giants this past season. This all came after he went 8-10 with a 3.38 ERA in 23 appearances (21 starts) with the A’s in his first full big league season in ’11.
The 30-year-old righty started last season with the Cubs organization, but was traded to the Giants in exchange for cash in July. Moscoso is 13-14 with a 4.28 ERA, while playing for four teams over five big league seasons.
- Paul Casella
Masahiro Tanaka is one step closer to joining the Major Leagues, according to a series of Christmas Day reports.
Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, citing a source, said that the posting period for the Japanese right-hander started Thursday morning and will conclude by Jan. 24 at 5 p.m.
Meanwhile, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, citing the Sponichi website in Japan, reported that Casey Close will serve as Tanaka’s agent. Close also represents big league All-Stars Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Derek Jeter.
Tanaka’s Nippon Professional Baseball club, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, reportedly revealed the decision to post him on Tuesday evening. The posting figures to trigger a Major League frenzy, not just because of Tanaka’s talents, but also because of the new posting system regulations.
Under the new posting system, bids cannot exceed $20 million. Also, any Major League team can negotiate freely with Tanaka, with only the signing team ultimately paying the $20 million fee.
It presents a much different situation than two years ago when the Rangers won exclusive rights to negotiate with Yu Darvish after posting a winning bid worth $51.7 million.
The new posting rules figure to allow more teams the chance to pursue Tanaka, who this past season went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in leading the Golden Eagles to the Japan Series title. Overall, despite being just 25 years old, Tanaka has gone 99-35 with a 2.30 ERA over seven seasons in Japan.
Various reports have already mentioned the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs, Braves, Rangers and Diamondbacks as potential frontrunners to land Tanaka’s servies.
- Paul Casella
The Dodgers already have a strong closer in Kenley Jansen, but that hasn’t stopped them from bolstering their bullpen during Hot Stove season, acquiring a pair of experienced ninth-inning men in the process.
Los Angeles, which already had re-signed Brian Wilson and J.P. Howell, took steps to further strengthen its relief corps on Sunday and Monday by reaching reported agreements with former Indians closer Chris Perez and veteran right-hander Jamey Wright. The club’s bullpen could be a force to be reckoned with this season, writes our Phil Rogers.
In other news around the league on Monday:
- Our Doug Miller takes a look at the players who could be finding new homes during the holiday season in the latest edition of The Week Ahead.
- Also in the holiday spirit, our Anthony Castrovince proposes the perfect gift for each National League club.
- The Twins finalized their deals with catcher Kurt Suzuki and right-hander Mike Pelfrey.
- At Sports on Earth, Jack Moore runs through the top six remaining free agents, with Kendrys Morales grabbing the top spot.
- Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told the Cincinnati Enquirer that his club will account for the loss of Shin-Soo Choo by making speedy prospect Billy Hamilton its starting center fielder and leadoff hitter.
- After backing out of a deal with Grant Balfour due to concerns over his physical, the Orioles are looking at Fernando Rodney to fill their closer vacancy but also are interested in re-signing Fernando Rodriguez, according to The Baltimore Sun.
- Meanwhile, Balfour continues to draw interest from other teams, with the New York Post reporting that the Yankees are among those involved. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Henry Schulman also tweeted that the Giants have had “conversations” with Balfour.
- The Cubs are one of the teams interested in veteran reliever Jesse Crain, according to Bruce Levine of Chicago’s WSCR-AM and 670thescore.com.
– Andrew Simon
The Orioles have claimed right-hander Liam Hendriks off waivers from the Cubs before he could throw a pitch in the Chicago organization. And in the meantime, the Cubs have claimed right-hander Brett Marshall from the Yankees.
Hendriks was claimed by the Cubs from the Twins on Dec. 13. The righty appeared in 10 games (eight starts) for the Twins last year, going 1-3 with a 6.85 ERA in 47 1/3 innings. He also made 16 starts for Triple-A Rochester.
Hendriks was signed by the Twins as an international free agent in 2007, and will be the third Australian-born Oriole in club history (John Stephens in 2002 and Damian Moss in 2003) when he makes his Major League debut. Over six seasons in the Twins minor league system, Hendriks went 42-28 with a 2.99 ERA in 100 games (98 starts).
Marshall, 23, made his MLB debut last season in three relief appearances over two stints with the Yankees, posting a 4.50 ERA (six earned runs in 12 innings). He spent most of last season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, going 7-10 with a 5.13 ERA in 25 starts. He struck out 120 and walked 68.
Marshall was designated for assignment by the Yankees on Dec. 19. After the season, he was considered the Yankees’ sixth-best prospect by Baseball America.
– Joey Nowak
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
The Cubs have agreed to a contract with free-agent reliever Jose Veras, with the righty set to take a physical on Wednesday morning to make it official. The club has not confirmed the move.
Veras will serve as Chicago’s closer, reports ESPN Deportes’ Enrique Rojas, who adds that the one-year deal is worth $4 million plus incentives, with a $5.5 million option for 2015.
The 33-year-old notched 19 saves and a 2.93 ERA in 42 appearances for the Astros last season before being traded to Detroit, where he served mostly in a setup role. In 62 2/3 innings overall, Veras had a 3.02 ERA, with 60 strikeouts and 22 walks.
– Andrew Simon
The Mariners have been one of the most aggressive teams this offseason, signing Robinson Cano to a massive contract, then adding two more power bats at this week’s Winter Meetings, in Corey Hart and Logan Morrison.
But there still could be more moves on the horizon, and one in particular makes a lot of sense, writes our Richard Justice. He believes Seattle should beef up its offense further by adding free-agent Nelson Cruz.
In other news from around the league on Saturday:
- The Dodgers have filled the most significant hole in their lineup, agreeing to a two-year deal with free-agent third baseman Juan Uribe.
- The Marlins also held some interest in Uribe, so his signing leaves them looking at other options at third base, writes our Joe Frisaro.
- The Twins signed their third starting pitcher so far this offseason, agreeing to bring back righty Mike Pelfrey on a two-year deal. Minnesota, still looking to add another arm, is unlikely to sign Matt Garza but is open to Bronson Arroyo, according to a tweet from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and MLB Network.
- The Mets announced their two-year deal with Bartolo Colon, officially adding the 40-year-old to their starting rotation.
- The Braves could be close to signing free-agent right-hander Gavin Floyd, according to a report from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Floyd, coming off Tommy John surgery, is expected to return to action in May.
- With free-agent second baseman Omar Infante set to sign with the Royals, the Yankees’ interest in a trade for the Cubs’ Darwin Barney “may pick up,” according to a tweet from Bruce Levine of Chicago’s WSRC-AM and 670thescore.com. The teams held earlier talks about Barney, Levine writes.
- The Royals signed three players, including reliever Cory Wade, to Minor League deals.
– Andrew Simon
The Cubs claimed right-hander Liam Hendriks off waivers from the Twins on Friday. The 24-year-old is 2-13 with a 6.06 ERA in 30 Major League appearances (28 starts) with the Twins over the last three seasons.
Hendriks originally signed with the Twins as a non-drafted free agent in February 2007 and made the Minnesota Opening Day roster for the first time in 2012, going 1-8 with a 5.59 ERA in 16 big league starts.
He became the 28th Australian-born player and 20th pitcher to ever play in the big leagues when he made his MLB debut with Minnesota in 2011.
The Marlins have traded outfielder Justin Ruggiano to the Cubs for outfielder Brian Bogusevic.
Bogusevic played in 47 games with the Cubs last year, hitting .273 with seven doubles, six home runs and 16 RBIs. He began the year hitting .317 in 79 games with Triple-A Iowa after signing a minor league contract before the season.
Over his four-year MLB career, Bogusevic is a .236 hitter. He was drafted by the Astros in the first round (24th overall) of the 2005 Draft out of Tulane, where he was a first-team All-American as a pitcher. He converted to outfield in 2008.
Ruggiano has spent all or part of five MLB seasons with Tampa Bay and Miami, hitting .251 with 49 doubles, 37 home runs and 109 RBIs in 317 games. He hit .313 with 23 doubles, 13 homers and a .909 OPS in 91 games with Miami in 2012 then belted a career-best 18 homers and drove in 50 RBIs in 128 games last year. He has spent time at all three outfield positions.
– Joey Nowak