Results tagged ‘ Giants ’
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 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
The Giants have signed outfielder Michael Morse to a one-year contract after he split time between the Mariners and Orioles last season.
After a strong year with the Nationals in 2012 — he hit .291 with 18 homers and 62 RBIs in 102 games — Morse disappointed last year, batting just .215 with 13 homers and 27 RBIs over 88 games split between Seattle and Baltimore. His OPS plummeted from .791 in 2012 to .651 in 2013.
CSN’s Andrew Baggarly reports Morse will be an everyday player for the Giants.
– Joey Nowak
SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants will acquire another starting pitcher soon, perhaps very soon. Exactly which one depends on who accepts their terms first.
The club is still talking with the representative for Ryan Vogelsong, trying to hammer out an agreement that could approach, match or even sweeten $6.5 million. That’s the value of the 2014 option the Giants declined, casting Vogelsong into free agency.
But, as Giants general manager Brian Sabean said earlier this week, the club has alternatives. San Francisco’s leading alternative to Vogelsong appears to be right-hander Dan Haren, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Since the Dodgers reportedly also are courting Haren, he has created a nice market for himself.
Additionally, Bronson Arroyo supposedly remains on the Giants’ radar.
The Giants still must find a proven hitter who can play left field or induce a position switch that enables an incumbent performer, such as Brandon Belt, to play left at least part-time. Sabean has indicated that this priority might take some time to fill.
The Giants already have signed free agent Tim Hudson and retained Hunter Pence, Tim Lincecum and Javier Lopez. If the Giants keep obtaining players at the current rate, Sabean and his assistants will be able to take a break at Disney World during next month’s Winter Meetings at Orlando.
– Chris Haft
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 Hot Stove was cranked up to full blast on Wednesday night, thanks to a surprise exchange of All-Stars. In a deal first reported by CBSSports.com and later confirmed by the teams, the Tigers will send first baseman Prince Fielder to the Rangers for second baseman Ian Kinsler. Detroit also will include $30 million to help offset the disparity between the two players’ remaining contracts.
Despite the move, the Rangers still want to add a free-agent hitter such as Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran or Nelson Cruz, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and MLB Network.
In other news from around the league:
- The Giants and left-handed reliever Javier Lopez are nearing an agreement on a new three-year contract.
- After losing Tim Hudson to San Francisco, the Braves are looking to add a veteran starting pitcher, writes our Mark Bowman. A trade for the Brewers’ Kyle Lohse is one possibility.
- The Padres finalized their one-year pact with free-agent righty Josh Johnson.
- The Indians might have found a new right fielder in former Ranger David Murphy.
- The Marlins would like to add a few good bats this offseason, particularly at catcher and third base, our Joe Frisaro writes. But that’s easier said than done, considering the high demand for such players.
- Our Todd Zolecki wonders if the Phillies have finished tinkering with their lineup after signing Carlos Ruiz and Marlon Byrd.
- The Orioles signed former Rockies reliever Edgmer Escalona to a one-year contract.
- Free-agent righty Dan Haren and the Dodgers have “mutual interest” as Los Angeles looks to add to its rotation, reports ESPN Los Angeles.
- The Royals have talked about pursuing A’s left-hander Brett Anderson, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
- The Mets are suffering from “sticker shock” as they evaluate the free-agent market this offseason, 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
According to a tweet from Comcast SportsNet Bay Area‘s Andrew Baggarly, the Giants are close to re-signing left-handed reliever Javier Lopez.
The 36-year-old Lopez went 4-2 with a 1.83 ERA in 69 appearances last year, spanning 39 1/3 innings of work. He struck out 37 while walking 12 and held lefties to a .156 average (righties hit .296).
For a list of some of the top southpaw relievers on the free agent market, check out MLB.com‘s Doug Miller’s story here.
– Joey Nowak
Former Reds starter Bronson Arroyo went on MLB Network Radio on Monday and mentioned the Angels among the teams that have expressed interest in the early portion of his free agency.
In addition to the Angels, Arroyo, entering his age-37 season, said the Phillies, Dodgers, Giants, Twins and (maybe) Orioles have reached out to his agent, but no teams have tendered any offers just yet. The Twins and Giants, who just signed Tim Hudson to a two-year, $23 million deal but need more starting pitching, have been in touch more than once, Arroyo said.
Arroyo, who did not get a $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Reds, seeks a three-year deal, though that may be very difficult to come by — even for someone like Arroyo, who has a great health record.
Over the last two years, while pitching mainly at the hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park, Arroyo has put up almost identical seasons, compiling a 3.76 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP and a 3.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 404 innings. The veteran right-hander has averaged 207 innings over the last 10 years, doing so with a 4.10 ERA.
The Angels could turn to Arroyo as a fallback option if they can’t resign Jason Vargas, but Arroyo will probably be more expensive — at least with regards to average annual value.
“I feel like I’ve proven myself in the game, I feel like I’ve given any team that I’ve ever played for their money’s worth,” Arroyo told MLB Network Radio. “And so I really would like somebody to come further than two years and give me a three-year deal. I feel like I’ve got plenty left in the tank for that.
“I feel as good now as I did when I was 25, other than a few days in the weight room when your knees hurt a little bit squatting. My repertoire of pitching is without question better than it’s ever been, my mind is better than it’s ever been. That just comes with experience and learning your body and knowing how to get hitters out with what you have. So I don’t feel like I’m going downhill at all.”
— Alden Gonzalez