Results tagged ‘ D-backs ’
With cold weather and snow blanketing much of the country as the calendar turns over to 2014, baseball fans are growing more and more excited for Spring Training.
The Hot Stove quieted down over the holidays, but you can expect things to heat up again as teams make final pushes for the remaining free agents and cross the final items off their to-do lists before reporting to either Arizona or Florida. Here’s a recap of Friday’s Hot Stove action:
- The biggest news of the day came out of St. Petersburg, where the Rays officially inked first baseman James Loney to a three-year deal. It’s the largest deal awarded to a free agent by the Rays under the current ownership and was a priority for the team coming into the winter, executive vice president Andrew Friedman said.
- The other deal of the day came out of Baltimore, where the Orioles signed speedster Quintin Berry to a minor league deal. The outfielder has been valuable in stints with the Tiger and Red Sox, with whom he’s demonstrated a prowess in stealing bases. Berry, 29, has played all three outfield spots and is a close friend of Orioles center fielder Adam Jones. But, perhaps most importantly, he is 29-for-29 in career stolen base attempts.
- The Reds, down an impact outfielder since losing Shin-Soo Choo to free agency, have reportedly explored adding Grady Sizemore, MLB.com‘s Mark Sheldon reported today. Sizemore hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2011 but has showed plenty of potential while healthy in his time with the Indians.
- Shortstop Stephen Drew remains a free agent, which comes as a bit of a surprise now that he’s proven healthy and capable of helping a club, Marc Nordmandin writes for Sports on Earth. There’s been more chatter about who Drew will not be playing for, Normandin writes, than who he will be playing for.
- CBS Sports‘ Jon Heyman reported the details of Houston’s one-year deal with reliever Jesse Crain on Friday, noting that the right-hander will receive $3.25 million in guaranteed money.
- There figure to be plenty of teams in the running for Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, and Fox Sports‘ Ken Rosenthal reports the D-backs will most assuredly be one of them. He writes that the money the team had earmarked to potentially spend on Choo is now available for other uses — namely a top-tier starting pitcher.
– Joey Nowak
Veteran pitcher Mark Mulder, who’s looking to make a comeback after five seasons out of the big leagues, apparently has a few suitors and is considering teams on the West Coast and that train in Arizona.
ESPN.com‘s Jerry Crasnick reports the Angels, D-backs and Giants were the first three teams to watch Mulder when he first worked off a mound in November. Crasnick says Mulder is “close” to finding a team. MLB.com‘s Alden Gonzalez has also reported the Angels are in the mix.
The 36-year-old former first-round pick (of the A’s in 1998) pitched nine seasons in the big leagues (five with Oakland, four with St. Louis) and was an All-Star in 2003 and 2004.
– Joey Nowak
Major League general managers got perhaps their biggest Christmas present a little early, when Nippon Professional Baseball’s Rakuten Golden Eagles reportedly announced late Tuesday night that they will post star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.
The right-hander, who went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in Japan this season, is certain to command serious interest from several teams, who can submit a maximum bid of $20 million in order to earn the right to negotiate with him. ESPN’s Jim Bowden listed the Yankees, Angels, D-Backs, Rangers and Dodgers as some teams to watch as the situation develops.
The Eagles’ decision also could open the floodgates for the starting-pitcher market. With Tanaka in limbo, the likes of Bronson Arroyo, Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana remained unsigned.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick talked to Arroyo and reported that the Yankees have “touched base” with the durable 36-year-old righty, while the Angels, Orioles and D-backs also could be good fits. Arroyo told Crasnick that his last team, the Reds, has not offered him a one-year deal, and that he hasn’t been close to signing with the Twins, although those clubs still could be options.
In other news from around the league:
- The Dodgers announced the signings of free agents Juan Uribe, Chris Perez, J.P. Howell and Jamey Wright, and general manager Ned Colletti said after those moves he is “pretty much done” tweaking his roster for 2014. Colletti also deflected a question about his club’s interest in Tanaka and reiterated his belief that center fielder Matt Kemp, recovering from a broken ankle, will be ready for Opening Day.
- The Blue Jays re-signed infielder Munenori Kawasaki to a Minor League contract, with an invitation to Spring Training. A fan favorite in Toronto last season, when he hit .229/.326/.308 in 289 plate appearances, Kawasaki will compete for a bench spot and possibly playing time at second base.
- Left-handed reliever Jordan Norberto has agreed to a Minor League deal with the Rays, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser. Norberto posted a 2.77 ERA in 39 appearances for the A’s in 2012 but didn’t pitch in the Majors last season, undergoing Tommy John surgery in June, a month after Oakland released him. Slusser also reports that Norberto still must serve his 50-game suspension that came as a result of the Biogenesis investigation.
- There is mutual interest in a reunion between the Phillies and reliever Ryan Madson, CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury reports. Madson played for Philadelphia from 2003-11 and saved 32 games with a 2.37 ERA in his final season there before having his past two years wiped out by elbow injuries. According to Salisbury, Madson will audition for teams soon after New Years and likely will have to take a Minor League deal.
– Andrew Simon
The free-agent market lost one of its biggest names on Saturday, when outfielder Shin-Soo Choo agreed to a seven-year, $130 million contract with the Rangers.
As the list of unsigned impact players continues to shrink, the big question hanging over the Hot Stove is whether Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will join the fray. The highly touted right-hander’s Nippon Professional Baseball club, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, has yet to decide whether to make him available via NPB’s recently revised posting system with Major League Baseball.
But the situation appears to nearing a resolution, with Baseball America’s Ben Badler reporting that the Eagles are expected to inform Tanaka of their decision by Wednesday.
In other news from around the league on a quiet Sunday:
- Former A’s closer Grant Balfour saw his two-year, $15 million deal with the Orioles fall through after issues arose with his physical, but as many as four teams — including the Rays — appear to have interest in the veteran righty.
- Former All-Star left-hander Mark Mulder, who is making a comeback attempt, has worked out for the Giants, Padres, D-backs, Angels and Phillies, according to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Mulder last pitched in the Majors in 2008 but is working with a new delivery after injuries derailed his career.
- Cafardo also writes that free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew seems likely to return to the Red Sox, due in large part to a lack of other strong fits.
- Agent Scott Boras is trying to get the Mets interested in two of his remaining free agents, Drew and slugger Kendrys Morales, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. However, Crasnick says Drew’s price could be too high for New York, which doesn’t appear to have much interest in Morales.
– Andrew Simon
Wednesday marked another busy day on the Hot Stove, especially out West where the Rockies made a pair of deals as they continue to try to improve on back-to-back last-place finishes in the National League West.
Colorado on Wednesday landed outfielder Drew Stubbs in a trade with the Indians in exchange for left-handed pitcher Josh Outman. The Rox also acquired lefty Franklin Morales and right-handed reliever prospect Chris Martin from the Red Sox in exchange for infielder Jonathan Herrera.
While it was clearly a busy day for the Rockies, plenty of other teams either made, or are on the verge of making, moves of their own.
Here’s a look at some of Wednesday’s other news and notes from around the league:
- The Angels are reportedly closing in on a one-year deal with veteran Raul Ibanez. The 41-year-old designated hitter connected for 29 home runs and 65 RBIs for the Mariners last season. The Halos are also believed to be interested in Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, if he is made available, as well as free-agent righty Matt Garza.
- The Padres seemingly ended their search for a late-innings reliever, reportedly signing veteran Joaquin Benoit to a two-year deal. The deal is worth $15.5 million, including a $1.5 million buyout for 2016.
- The Braves gave manager Fredi Gonzalez some added flexibility with his lineup, acquiring catcher Ryan Doumit in a trade with the Twins for Minor League pitcher Sean Gilmartin. Doumit provides the Braves with a third catcher alongside Evan Gattis and Gerald Laird, as well as another option at first base or either corner-outfield position. Doumit could also provide some pop off the bench in a pinch-hitting role.
- Infielder Eric Chavez will reportedly return to the D-backs on a one-year contract. Chavez, who hit .281 with an .810 OPS after signing on as a free agent last season, will give the D-backs a left-handed bat off the bench, as well as a veteran backup to Paul Goldschmidt and Martin Prado at first base and third base, respectively.
- Houston continued its busy offseason, acquiring first baseman and outfielder Jesus Guzman in a trade with the Padres for infielder Ryan Jackson. Guzman will be given the chance to play first base for the Astros, while also providing manager Bo Porter with another outfield option. Jackson had been claimed off waivers from the Cardinals less than a month ago.
- The Mariners are reportedly showing continued interest in free agent Ervin Santana, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. With David Price apparently out of Seattle’s reach at this point, the club seems to be focusing its efforts on Santana for the time being.
The Mariners also added to their outfield depth by re-signing oft-injured outfielder Franklin Gutierrez to a one-year deal.
– Paul Casella
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 most significant Hot Stove news to break on Monday likely wasn’t a trade or a signing. Instead, it might have been Major League Baseball’s announcement that it had agreed with Nippon Professional Baseball on revised protocols for the leagues’ posting system.
The agreement allows NPB’s Rakuten Golden Eagles to post right-hander Masahiro Tanaka this offseason, a move that likely would make him the most sought-after pitcher on the market. While Rakuten would not have to let Tanaka go, owner Hiroshi Mikitani will allow him to leave, reports the Los Angeles Times’ Dylan Hernandez, relaying the news from the Japanese website Sanspo.
In other news from around the league:
- The D-backs, one of many teams that could go after Tanaka, made a move for another pitcher, trading third-base prospect Matt Davidson to the White Sox for closer Addison Reed. While Davidson was ranked as Arizona’s No. 2 prospect by MLB.com, Reed saved 40 games for Chicago last season. Meanwhile, D-backs general manager Kevin Towers is hoping to work out a contract with veteran third baseman Eric Chavez, tweets our Steve Gilbert.
- The Dodgers are closing in on a two-year deal to re-sign left-handed reliever J.P. Howell, a source tells our Ken Gurnick. Howell would make $11.25 million, with a $6.25 million vesting option for 2016.
- The Braves signed free-agent right-hander Gavin Floyd to a one-year contract, taking a chance on a pitcher still recovering from Tommy John surgery.
- The Indians also will give a shot to a veteran pitcher coming off injury, after agreeing to a Minor League deal with righty Shaun Marcum.
- The Astros added another piece to their bullpen, signing Matt Albers to a one-year contract.
- The Yankees are considering veteran free-agent infielders Mark Reynolds, Michael Young and Brian Roberts, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and MLB Network.
- The Phillies have let other teams know they are “very willing” to trade shortstop Jimmy Rollins, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, but Rollins has a no-trade clause and will make $11 million this season, with an $11 million vesting option for 2015.
– 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
Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, perhaps the top outfielder remaining on the free-agent market, might not be available much longer. On the first night of the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and MLB Network tweeted that talks involving Choo “appear to be reaching [a] critical stage.”
Although several clubs could be bidding, Rosenthal identifies the Rangers and D-backs as two that are heavily involved. Texas has been rumored to be interested in Choo throughout the offseason, while Arizona has been more under the radar.
However, our Anthony Castrovince tweets that the D-backs are “a strong suitor,” partly because the 31-year-old has a home in Buckeye, Ari., just outside of Phoenix.
– Andrew Simon
With Friday’s flurry of big moves in the rearview mirror and the baseball world gearing up for the start of the Winter Meetings on Monday, the Hot Stove took a bit of a break on Saturday.
Here is a look at the latest news from around the league:
- The Yankees reached official agreements with two free agents, announcing their seven-year contract with outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, as well as re-signing starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda for one year.
After reportedly agreeing to a three-year deal with Carlos Beltran on Friday, the Yankees could be open to dealing from their outfield depth and are “receiving significant interest” in Brett Gardner, according to Andy McCullough of The Star Ledger.
Elsewhere in the American League East, the Red Sox announced their two-year deal with reliever Edward Mujica. Boston general manager Ben Cherington said that while he will continue to look for upgrades, the Sox likely are finished with their “heavy lifting.” On the other hand, Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp is “in play” for the Red Sox, according to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti confirmed that he is open to trading an outfielder, since the club has Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig.
Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who could be in line for a contract extension this offseason, played a little joke via social media.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and MLB Network lists the Dodgers, D-backs, Rangers and Mariners as the teams in the best position to make a trade for Rays ace left-hander David Price at the Winter Meetings. Among the other players Rosenthal believes could be moved this week in Orlando, Fla., are A’s starting pitcher Brett Anderson, Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick, Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija and Orioles catcher Matt Wieters.
The Astros bolstered their bullpen by bringing in right-hander Chad Qualls on a two-year deal.
During a question-and-answer session with fans at the second day of Redsfest, Cincinnati GM Walt Jocketty said it will be “very difficult” to re-sign free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and also downplayed trade rumors about second baseman Brandon Phillips.
With Beltran heading to the Yankees, the Royals will have to look elsewhere to add an impact bat this offseason. Another club that lost out on Beltran, the D-backs, could target the Angels’ Mark Trumbo instead, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
The Marlins could be looking to looking to trade for Rays utility man Sean Rodriguez as they aim to find a solution at third base. Our Joe Frisaro also explains why the Marlins are likely to trade first baseman-outfielder Logan Morrison.
The Orioles added an outfielder, signing Francisco Peguero, who had been designated for assignment and then non-tendered by the Giants. Peguero had been MLB.com’s No. 98 overall prospect going into last season.
– Andrew Simon