Results tagged ‘ Dodgers ’

Angels still not sounding confident on Greinke

The Angels continue to sound like a club that isn’t counting on resigning Zack Greinke.

Obviously, things can change very quickly, and Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto has a recent track record of being very coy about his pursuit of big-name free agents (see: 2011 Winter Meetings). But the price tags continue to be sky high — with Dan Haren signing for $13 million and Shane Victorino reportedly getting a three-year, $39 million deal from the Red Sox — and the Angels continue to seem content with simply adding one middle-tier starter and one back-end reliever.

On Tuesday afternoon, Day 2 of the Winter Meetings from the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi tweeted that the Dodgers “have become [the] clear favorite to land Greinke,” echoing a sentiment that has been widely reported/speculated for most of the offseason. The Angels, who continue to be portrayed as a dark horse, want to avoid what happened last season, when they committed a lot of money to the rotation and were essentially tapped out in August, unable to add to a bullpen that badly needed an upgrade.

The Nationals dropped out on Greinke with the Haren signing, seemingly making it a three-team race. If Greinke’s price gets to $150 million, the Angels are likely out. If he’s willing to settle for something less, they have a chance.

But this is still the most likely scenario for Dipoto: Sign one No. 3 starter to slot between Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, and Tommy Hanson and Garrett Richards/Jerome Williams (Ryan Dempster, Edwin Jackson, Brandon McCarthy, etc.); sign one more back-end reliever to complement Ryan Madson, Ernesto Frieri, Scott Downs and Kevin Jepsen (Mike Adams, Sean Burnett, Koji Uehara, etc.).

Dipoto wouldn’t go into much detail in his daily briefing with local reporters on Tuesday, but he did re-iterate that he’s “100 percent” only looking at pitchers and that free agency — not the trade market — is almost his sole focus. The Angels did circle back with Haren, talking to him as recently as Monday, and a source said they improved on their original offer (one-year at $4 million with an $8 million vesting option) before buying out his contract.

Asked whether he was close on any pitchers, Dipoto said …

“Can’t say for certain that I’m getting warm on anything, but again, we’ve picked up the targets that we’re most interested in, we’ve had great discussions — in some cases multiple layers. We’re making progress, the extent of which I can’t tell you. I don’t know if anything gets done today, tomorrow, or post-[Winter Meetings], but I am certain that we’ll line up with a team on the field, and time will make the proper decision.”

– Alden Gonzalez

Angels continue to search for relievers

Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said after signing Ryan Madson that he’s not done addressing the bullpen “by any stretch.” And that search has intensified at the Winter Meetings here in Nashville, Tenn., where the Angels are focused on adding one starting pitcher but are keeping their ears open for additional bullpen options.

The Angels, a source confirmed, are one of several teams with a keen interest in former Nats left-hander Sean Burnett, who has posted a 2.76 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in 176 1/3 innings from 2010-12, averaging 7.8 strikeouts and 2.7 walks per nine innings. Acquiring Burnett would give the Angels a second lefty to complement Scott Downs, who has been reliable the last few years but struggled in the second half of 2012.

It would also let the young Nick Maronde start full-time in the Minor Leagues. Some in the organization, however, believe his future is as a reliever anyway.

Another option for the Angels is right-hander Mike Adams, who posted a 1.60 ERA and a .92 WHIP from 2010-11. The 34-year-old Adams finished last season with a 3.27 ERA with the Rangers, the highest since his rookie year in 2004, due in large part to a rough September that ended with him being shut down due to a right shoulder ailment.

The Angels checked in on Joakim Soria at the General Managers Meetings, but Soria’s preference is to sign somewhere he can close — and with Madson on board, that’s no longer a selling point for Dipoto.

Burnett, Adams and Soria are sure to use the three-year deals signed by Jeremy Affeldt ($18 million), Brandon League ($22.5 million) and Jonathan Broxton ($21 million) as a starting point. That means signing one of them would almost certainly take the Angels out of the Zack Greinke sweepstakes, though a source said they’re “not closing the door on anything.” According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Angels have checked in on the two starting pitchers a tier below Greinke — Anibal Sanchez and Kyle Lohse.

Alden Gonzalez

Angels reportedly front-runners for Fujikawa

Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa is nearing a decision and the Angels are believed to be the front-runners, Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reported via Twitter on Friday afternoon. Fujikawa’s agent, Don Nomura, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Fujikawa, 32, is one of the top relievers in the Far East, racking up 202 saves to go along with a 1.36 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP and a rate of 12.4 strikeouts and 2.3 walks per nine innings in 369 2/3 frames while pitching for the Hanshin Tigers.

Fujikawa met with Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto in Anaheim last week, a source confirmed to MLB.com, as part of a five-team tour that also saw him make stops in the Dodgers’, Orioles’, Cubs’ and D-backs’ facilities. At least 10 teams are believed to have made him an offer, according to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker, who said Fujikawa is seeking a multi-year deal.

The Angels signed Ryan Madson to potentially be their closer on Wednesday, adding him to a back end of the bullpen that also includes Ernesto Frieri, Kevin Jepsen and Scott Downs. On Friday, they freed up a spot in the ‘pen by trading Jordan Walden to the Braves for starter Tommy Hanson.

If the Angels sign Fujikawa, they’d probably be out of the Zack Greinke sweepstakes, instead going with a cheaper alternative to fill their final rotation spot.

Alden Gonzalez

Fujikawa meets with Angels, among others

UPDATE, MONDAY, 1:30 P.M. PT: Fujikawa did indeed meet with Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto this weekend, a source confirmed to MLB.com, with Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times specifying that it took place Saturday and Mike Scioscia was also in attendance.

——-

Right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa, the top closer in Japan for nearly a decade, is a free agent now, has begun meeting with Major League clubs and is slated to stop by the Angels’ facility, according to a recent report in The Dallas Morning News, which added that the 32-year-old had already visited with the D-backs and Cubs and was also slated to meet with the Dodgers. The Rangers are also believed to have interest.

Since he’s a free agent, Fujikawa won’t have to go through the expensive posting system, where teams bid on the rights to simply negotiate with a player. Fujikawa, who mixes a mid-90s fastball with a split-finger and slider, has gone 42-25 with a 1.77 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP, 914 strikeouts and 220 saves in 692 1/3 career innings for the Hanshin Tigers. In 2012, he posted a 1.24 ERA and 41 saves in 56 games.

Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto likes him, but he’s among several free agents the club is looking at in hopes of improving the bullpen.

“I have seen Fujikawa; we have up-to-date scouting reports on him,” Dipoto said. “We have scouted him, as have the 29 other Major League clubs. He’s no secret in the industry. Everyone has seen him. He’s been a premier closer in Japan for the last half-dozen, seven years, and it remains to be seen where he winds up. But he’s one of the available free agents, and therefore he’s a name that we, like everybody else, have considered.”

Alden Gonzalez

Angels like Kuroda, but only as fallback

The Angels are among those interested in signing veteran right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, as Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported. But he’s mostly considered a fall-back option if they can’t resign Zack Greinke, a source told MLB.com.

The Angels probably can’t afford to sign both. Not when you consider Kuroda turned down the Yankees’ $13.3 million qualifying offer, a sign he’s looking for more money; or that Greinke’s price tag will probably be at least $120 million on a six-year deal; or that the Angels also have to fill holes in their bullpen; or that Jerry Dipoto paid $3.5 million to buy out Dan Haren’s contract largely because they didn’t want to pay $15.5 million for a back-end starter.

Of course, Kuroda was much better than Haren last year, and there’s a lot to like about him moving forward.

The 37-year-old has talked about finishing his career back home in Japan, so it may only take a one-year deal to sign him. He’s been very consistent in his five years in the big leagues, going 57-57 with a 3.42 ERA and 184 innings per season (including a career-high 219 2/3 with New York in 2012). And he spent his first four years on the West coast, pitching for the Dodgers.

Heyman also listed the Dodgers and Red Sox as interested suitors in Kuroda, adding that he’s a priority for the Yankees.

The Angels have just Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson returning from last year’s rotation — with Garrett Richards being the fifth starter, in an ideal world — so they’re checking in on basically every top arm available.

But the most important thing for them  is to get more clarity on Greinke’s future destination. The sooner that happens, the better an idea they can have on how to allocate their money.

– Alden Gonzalez

Interest piling up for Torii Hunter

As the offseason ensues, and the chances of Torii Hunter returning to the Angels continues to look awfully bleak, the list of potential suitors for the veteran right fielder continues to grow.

On Monday, CBSSports.com reported that as many as 13-14 teams have checked in on Hunter, with the Tigers, Rangers and Braves being the most aggressive. The Dodgers are out on Hunter, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com, which said Hunter will make a decision on his 2013 destination within the next couple weeks.

As for the Angels? They haven’t offered Hunter anything more than a one-year, $5 million contract since mid-September, a source said, because they have plenty of depth in their outfield and need to allocate funds to shore up their pitching — specifically a rotation that has only two 2012 members guaranteed to return and a bullpen that blew 22 saves.

General manager Jerry Dipoto previously admitted that it’s “not likely” Hunter returns, and Hunter’s agent, Larry Reynolds, echoed those same thoughts. They could free up more money for Hunter if they get something back on the $42 million owed to Vernon Wells over the next two seasons, but that doesn’t seem favorable right now, either.

Hunter, 37, batted a career-high .313 with 16 homers and 92 RBIs in 2012. His production, health and athleticism at this stage in his career, coupled with his leadership and character, make him an appealing, affordable free agent. So does not having to give up a Draft pick to sign him, since the Angels didn’t tender a $13.3 million qualifying offer to Hunter.

“My plan is to win no matter what, and of course I’m going to try to get with a ballclub that’s trying to win,” Hunter recently told MLB.com. “That’s the plan.”

 — Alden Gonzalez

11/10 Cubs miss in bid for Ryu

The Cubs apparently fell short in their bid for South Korean left-handed pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu. According to reports Friday night, the winning bid was $25,737,737.33. The numbers three and seven are considered lucky in Korea, which explains the bid. The Cubs did bid aggressively, according to CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman, but they did not win Ryu’s rights. The Dodgers and Rangers also bid for Ryu.

Ryu, 25, is believed to be ready to be inserted into a big league rotation but could begin in a team’s bullpen. Ryu’s team, the Hanwha Eagles, have four business days to determine if they will accept the highest of the sealed bids. The team they pick would then have to negotiate a contract with Ryu’s agent, Scott Boras.

– Carrie Muskat

Nov. 8 Hot Stove Roundup

As Hot Stove season cranks up, one of the hottest names in the rumor mill is D-backs outfielder Justin Upton. But according to our own Steve Gilbert, Arizona GM Kevin Towers said on Thursday he is “in no rush” to deal the talented 25-year-old, who is coming off a down year.

While Towers is having discussions about Upton at the General Manager Meetings in Indian Wells, Calif., they are still preliminary and figure to take time, if they go through at all. The D-backs are looking for Major League-ready players, rather than prospects, in exchange for Upton, a two-time All-Star who is signed through 2015.

In other news:

  • The Dodgers, looking to go the free agency route for help in their starting rotation, have Hiroki Kuroda and Anibal Sanchez at the top of their list, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
  • Sources have told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that Sanchez’s agent is asking teams for a contract in the $90 million range over six years. Besides the Dodgers, the teams interested include the Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Rangers.
  • The Mets continue to talk to third baseman David Wright and pitcher R.A. Dickey about contract extensions, our own Anthony DiComo reports. But New York also is looking into trading Dickey, a leading Cy Young Award contender, according to Heyman.
  • There is a possibility the Rays could trade two starting pitchers this offseason, but it’s more likely the club will deal only one, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. David Price and James Shields are among the candidates to go.

– Andrew Simon

7/31 Dempster & the Dodgers

The Dodgers acquired outfielder Shane Victorino from the Phillies on Tuesday but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says they’re not done. Rosenthal reports the Dodgers are focused on Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster and want him before today’s 3 p.m. CT Trade Deadline. Dempster was scheduled to start Tuesday night for the Cubs against the Pirates. However, the Cubs were expected to have pitcher Casey Coleman in Chicago as a contingency plan. Dempster has hinted he’d prefer to go to the Dodgers. As a player with 10-and-5 rights, he has veto power.

– Carrie Muskat

7/30 Dempster tidbits

No change in Ryan Dempster’s status, just the rumors. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus reports Zach Lee, Allen Webster and Chris Reed are off the table in any talks between the Cubs and Dodgers for Dempster. CBS Sports’ Scott Miller said discussions are “gaining momentum.” However, a Major League source told MLB.com Monday afternoon that nothing has changed in discussions.

– Carrie Muskat

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