Results tagged ‘ cubs ’
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
No transactions went down on Wednesday morning, as the third day of the Winter Meetings got underway at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. But there are plenty of rumors and buzz going around. Here is a look at the latest:
- The agent for Rays left-hander David Price told Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and MLB Network that his client wouldn’t consider an extension with the Mariners if traded to Seattle but might do so with other, unspecified teams. Price has two seasons remaining before he hits free agency. Our Greg Johns calls Price and the Mariners “an extremely remote match.”
- Free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo could command a seven-year, $140 million deal, tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. The Mariners and Rangers are in the lead for his services, according to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman.
- The Rangers are staying patient as they wait for asking prices to come down on the likes of Choo and Nelson Cruz, writes our T.R. Sullivan.
- The D-backs are in the market for a starting pitcher, Rosenthal tweets. ESPN’s Jayson Stark mentions free-agent right-hander Matt Garza as a possibility.
- The Nationals’ quest for a left-handed reliever could end soon, according to Rosenthal.
- Rosenthal also describes Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips as “in play” for trade talks.
- Our Carrie Muskat updates the Jeff Samardzija situation, as the Cubs explore a contract extension with the right-hander, who also has been involved in plenty of trade rumors this offseason.
- The Astros are one of the teams interested in often-injured former All-Star outfielder Grady Sizemore.
- The Marlins are listening to offers for outfielder Justin Ruggiano, writes our Joe Frisaro. They also have interest in outfielder Delmon Young, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
- The Orioles have talked with free-agent reliever John Axford, tweets Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com.
– Andrew Simon
Jeff Samardzija’s agent was expected to meet Wednesday with Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, at the Winter Meetings. It’s more a chance for the two to touch base. The Cubs would like to extend Samardzija, but he will be a free agent after the 2015 season and is most likely to politely reject their offer. The right-hander has been the subject of trade rumors, and if the Cubs do not deal him now, they could move Samardzija at the Trade Deadline in July.
The three-way trade between the Angels, the Diamondbacks and the White Sox may have had an impact on what the Cubs do with Samardzija. The Cubs were believed to be looking at lefty Tyler Skaggs as part of the package for the right-hander, but Skaggs was sent to the Angels.
One team that could be in the market for Samardzija is Toronto. The Blue Jays have gotten inquiries on right-handed pitchers Marcus Stroman, 22, and Aaron Sanchez, 21, and also are trying to move Colby Rasmus, 27, a left-handed hitting outfielder. Rasums batted .276 in 118 games with the Blue Jays last season, hitting 22 home runs but also striking out 135 times. Stroman was 9-5 with a 3.30 ERA at Double-A New Hampshire, striking out 129 over 111 2/3 innings, and Sanchez compiled a 3.34 ERA in 22 games at Class A Dunedin, striking out 75 over 86 1/3 innings.
– Carrie Muskat