Results tagged ‘ Josh Willingham ’

Rox, Cuddyer reach three-year, $31.5 million agreement

The Rockies are putting the final touches on a three-year signing of outfielder Michael Cuddyer to a three-year, $31.5 million contract, a Major League source confirmed to MLB.com on Friday morning.

The right-handed hitting Cuddyer, 32, hit .284 with 20 home runs and 70 RBIs for the Twins last season. He has hit at least 20 homers three times in his career, including a career-high 32 in 2009. In 1,139 career games, all with the Twins, Cuddyer is a .272 hitter with 141 homers and 580 RBIs.

Cuddyer figures to fit in the lineup in left field, but also could move to first base on days Todd Helton is not in the lineup. The Rockies could use him in the No. 5 spot behind shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, or at No. 6 if the Rockies want the left-handed hitting Todd Helton to continue to bat behind Tulowitzki.

The Rockies also were looking to re-make the flavor of the clubhouse, after finishing 73-89 last season and not showing the toughness that had become a trademark of the club in recent seasons. The team has added a pair of veterans via free agency – catcher Ramon Hernandez for two years and $6.4 million, and Cuddyer.

The Rockies still aren’t likely to be done with building the 2012 roster. Left-handed hitting left fielder Seth Smith is the team’s main trading chip, who figures to be supplanted by Cuddyer, is the team’s main chip in attempts to deal to fill other holes. A key one is the need for a starting pitcher capable of 200 innings, with left-hander Jorge De La Rosa having to come back from Tommy John elbow surgery and out until sometime around June .

The Rockies rid themselves of $7 million in salary by dealing relief pitcher Huston Street to the Padres and further trimming the payroll of a projected $2.6 million when they sent arbitration-eligible third baseman Ian Stewart to the Cubs as part of a four-player trade, the Rockies achieved enough payroll relief to make an offer to an outfielder.

But signing Cuddyer means the Rockies will not be able to continue to pursue Hiroki Kuroda, a right-hander reportedly looking for a one-year deal in the $13 million range.

The Rockies began pursuing Cuddyer early in the free-agency period, but needed the market to fall into place. That occurred on Tuesday, when news surfaced that outfielder Josh Willingham moved toward accepting an offer from the Twins. The original thought Twins were not going to sign both players, but the Twins remained in the running.

According to reports, the Phillies and Mariners were still trying to sign Cuddyer as of Thursday.

– Thomas Harding

Rox pursue Beltran in addition to Cuddyer

The Rockies are trying to sign free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, two Major League sources told MLB.com on Tuesday. The Rockies’ involvement with Beltran was first reported Tuesday by CBS Sports.

A six-time All-Star, Beltran is coming off a 2011 in which he hit a combined .300 with 22 home runs and 84 RBIs for the Giants and Mets. He hit .323 with seven homers and 18 RBIs in 44 games after the Giants acquired him for a late-season stretch run.

The switch-hitting Beltran, who turns 35 on April 24, is a career .283 hitter with a .361 on-base percentage, and has 302 home runs and 1,146 RBIs. In 25 career games at Coors Field, Beltran has hit .276 with six home runs, 24 RBIs, nine doubles and a triple. He has compiled an .880 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) at Coors as well.

The Rockies’ search for an outfielder to bolster their lineup has led them to pursue free-agent Michael Cuddyer, who is considering a three-year offer with the Twins, the team with which he has spent his entire Major League career.

It is not clear when a decision from Beltran, who has fielded interest from the Cardinals and the Red Sox, or Cuddyer will come.  The Rockies are looking at signing one outfielder to bolster the lineup. Cody Ross’ name has surfaced, but the Rockies are not pursuing him at this time. They are unlikely to do so until after looking at other possibilities. <p />

That outfielder, however, will not be Josh Willingham, whose name has been connected with the Rockies in recent days. Willingham’s agent, Matt Sosnick, said Willingham’s decision is down to three teams but the Rockies are not one of them, and Rockies sources say they have not been in on Willingham.

The Rockies currently have an outfield, with Seth Smith in left, Dexter Fowler in center and Carlos Gonzalez in right. However, the Rockies have been dangling Smith, a left-handed hitter with strong numbers against righty pitching, in trade talks in attempts to shore up other areas of the club.

– Thomas Harding

Giants might be eyeing Ludwick, or vice-versa

Monday, Dec. 5

DALLAS — Add Ryan Ludwick to the list of free-agent outfielders who might intrigue the Giants.

The Giants were believed to have scheduled a meeting Monday with Ludwick’s agent, Dan Horwits. Ludwick earned $6.775 million last season but might be more affordable than that this winter, even on the open market.

A right-handed batter, Ludwick thrived in 2008-09, when he hit .283 with 59 home runs and 210 RBIs for St. Louis.
When the Cardinals sent him to San Diego at the 2010 Trade Deadline, Ludwick remained productive, as he was batting
.281 with 11 homers and 43 RBIs in 77 games at the time.

Since that deal, however, Ludwick has hit .229 with 19 homers and 101 RBIs in 198 games for San Diego and
Pittsburgh. He batted .237 with 13 homers and 75 RBIs overall last season. The 33-year-old’s on-base percentage has
dwindled each year since 2008, from .375 to .329 to .325 to .310. His slugging percentage also has declined
annually, from .591 in 2008 to .447 to .418 to .363.

Ludwick has performed adequately at AT&T Park, where he owns a .265 batting average (22-for-83) in 23 games. His total of five home runs in 83 at-bats by the bay indicates that, unlike many hitters, the ballpark’s dimensions don’t intimidate him.

Other free-agent outfielders to whom the Giants have been linked include Coco Crisp and Josh Willingham. They also
were thought to be interested in David DeJesus before the A’s traded him to the Cubs, and in Grady Sizemore before he re-signed with Cleveland.

Chris Haft

7/29 Hot Stove Roundup: Who’s next to go?

That hasn’t really been decided yet.

Since Carlos Beltran officially joined the Giants on Thursday, no big moves have been made — at least not as of late afternoon on Friday. So, with the non-waiver Trade Deadline now less than two days away, and lots of big names remaining, we’re almost bracing for an avalanche of deals to be carved out just in time.

Before then, here are Friday’s biggest rumors …

* Ubaldo Jimenez is still the big ace that’s apparently being dangled, but nobody seems to have stepped up. Jon Heyman of SI.com and MLB Network said the Red Sox are aggressively pursuing Jimenez, the Yankees are “lurking,” and the Indians, Reds and Blue Jays are also in the mix. Jayson Stark of ESPN.com then stated that the Yankees’ interest has waned, and the Indians are the ones emerging.

* The Astros remain in “intense” trade talks for Hunter Pence, according to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Pence was removed from Thursday’s lineup because of a potential trade, McTaggart added, and said a direct two-team deal remains general manager Ed Wade‘s preference. The Phillies have made Pence their top target, but how much are they willing to give up?

* The Tigers are a contending team, and they need starting pitching. That’s no secret. The question is who they can get — or better yet, who can they get without giving up top prospect Jacob Turner? One way or another, MLB.com’s Jason Beck wrote, the Tigers’ search for a starter is nearing a resolution.

* The Reds may be 6 1/2 games out of first place after losing four straight, but GM Walt Jocketty said this much: “We are not selling.”

* If you need a third baseman, don’t look to the Cubs. Aramis Ramirez and his no-trade clause are not on the market.

* The Mariners traded Ryan Langerhans to the Diamondbacks for cash considerations, in order to clear room on the roster for former D-backs outfielder Wily Mo Pena.

* The Rangers are pushing hard to get closer Heath Bell, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan writes. Whether or not that materializes, the Padres have a lot of interesting pieces, and things should pick up between now and the Deadline.

* Jason Marquis, Jeremy Guthrie, Koji Uehara, Hiroki Kuroda, Erik Bedard (who pitches tonight), Doug Fister, Mike Adams, Wandy Rodriguez, Grand Balfour and Kevin Slowey are some of the arms that can be had before 4 p.m. ET on Sunday. B.J. Upton, Denard Span, Michael Bourn, Jamey Carroll, Carlos Quentin, Jason Kubel, Delmon Young and Josh Willingham are some of the position players to be had. But no movement yet.

So we wait.

Alden

Indians targeting Kuroda?

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports (via Twitter), the “three hottest teams” going after Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda are the Indians, Tigers and Rangers.

Cleveland is known to be searching high and low for outfield help, especially with both Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo out with injuries, but the club is also in the market for rotation assistance. After Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the White Sox, Tribe manager Manny Acta made it clear that his club is working hard in trade talks.

“The truth will come out,” Acta said. “A lot of people will be shocked, surprised and be quiet for a long time after they find out every effort that the team put into it.”

Does that mean the Indians are on the verge of pulling off something big?

Given the number of rumors that are including Cleveland as a suitor right now, it certainly seems like the Tribe is trying to pull the trigger on one or two deals. The Indians have also been linked to outfielders B.J. Upton, Coco Crisp, Josh Willingham and Ryan Ludwick in various reports.

Hunter Pence and Carlos Beltran are unlikely to land in Cleveland.

As for Kuroda, he is 36 years old and is owed roughly $4 million over the final two months. Over his past nine starts, the right-hander has posted a 2.78 ERA with a .221 opponents’ batting average. His 3.19 ERA on the year indicates that Kuroda is having a better season than his 6-12 record would indicate.

Cleveland has reportedly shown interest in Aaron Harang.

–Jordan Bastian

Indians searching for outfield help

Cleveland’s need for outfield assistance is clear. On Thursday, center fielder Grady Sizemore underwent surgery to correct a sports hernia — an operation initially planned for the offseason — meaning he will be sidelined for four to six weeks.

Sizemore injured his right knee on Sunday (the same knee he hurt in May) and was going to probably need at least a month to recover. Under the circumstances, the Indians felt it made sense to tackle both issues — rest for the knee and surgery for the hernia — right now.

Unfortunately for the Tribe, that leaves the outfield short Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo (broken left thumb) until late August or early September, if their respective rehabs go well. Over the past two games, Cleveland was also missing Michael Brantley and Travis Buck due to health issues, exposing the club’s depth (or lack thereof).

Naturally, the Indians are being mentioned in a variety of trade rumors and reports for outfielders. Cleveland has been tied to outfielders such as Josh Willingham, Ryan Ludwick and Coco Crisp. Jeff Francoeur and Melky Cabrera also would make sense as targets. Carlos Beltran and Hunter Pence seem unrealistic.

The Indians are open minded about pursuing a right-handed or left-handed bat, but the organization does not plan on parting with top core prospects for a perceived “rental” player. Such prospects that appear to be off limits include lefty Drew Pomeranz, righty Alex White, third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall and second baseman Jason Kipnis.

The outfield is the most glaring area of need, but the Indians have also explored available options to boost their rotation as well.

–Jordan Bastian

Rockies, De La Rosa in holding pattern

The general managers meetings in Florida offer a good time for teams to survey the free-agent landscape. And according to the Denver Post, things are about as expected with left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, a player the Rockies want to keep. Interest is strong: former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle has taken over the Pirates and identified De La Rosa as his top target, according to the newspaper, and the Nationals, as reported by MLB.com’s Bill Ladson last week, and Orioles are already in the mix. The Yankees and Rangers could jump in, depending on what happens with lefty Cliff Lee. The paper says the key, as has been the case all along, is if the offers are at three years, the Rockies will compete — and they offer an environment in which De La Rosa has been successful. If it goes beyond three years, De La Rosa is likely gone, and the Rockies could look for a free agent such as Carl Pavano or Javier Vazquez, or seek a trade.

The paper also reported that the Rockies are unlikely to re-sign right-handed hitting utility man Melvin Mora, who wants a contract quicker than the Rockies want to move on him. With the Athletics not looking to trade Conor Jackson, the Rockies could take a look at the Nationals’ Josh Willingham or the Angels’ Mike Napoli for right-handed hitting help.

Thomas Harding

Roundup: White Sox, Oswalt a match?

Jon Heyman of SI.com and MLB Network brought up that possibility on Sunday night, when he wrote on his Twitter account that the White Sox “might” consider adding Roy Oswalt after Cliff Lee signed with the Rangers, though they are “leery” about how he’ll react to switching from the National League to the American League for the first time. 
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com wrote via Twitter recently that Oswalt would use his full no-trade clause to block a trade to the White Sox and Tigers. But perhaps that changes. 
Oswalt said he’s not really sure how the Lee deal impacts his situation, but the White Sox — after a furious one-month run — are in the thick of things in the AL Central and are almost assured of being buyers before the non-waiver Trade Deadline. Since Jake Peavy is expected to miss the rest of the season, Chicago will likely need starting-pitching help if they hope for a division title. 
Oswalt would come at a pro-rated price tag of $15 million. The 32-year-old right-hander is owed $16 million next season and then has a $16 million option (with a $2 million buyout) for 2012. The Mets, Dodgers, Rays, Twins and several others could also be interested in adding a veteran starter like Oswalt. 
Here’s more from around the league as we await the State Farm Home Run Derby … 
* The Angels plan on pursuing speedy left fielder Carl Crawford when he becomes a free agent this offseason, according to FOXSports.com. For that reason, and because Kendry Morales is expected back in 2011, the club doesn’t want to acquire a first baseman who’s signed beyond the rest of this season. 
* It doesn’t look like the first-place Padres will be sellers before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, but it looks like they’ll be looking into smaller deals, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. Lance Berkman and Jermaine Dye are two guys San Diego is looking into for the outfield, the newspaper stated. 
* The Blue Jays have made three of their late-inning relievers — Scott DownsJason Frasor and Kevin Gregg — available, according to multiple reports. All three of them are free agents at the end of this season and not part of Toronto’s long-term plans. 
* The financially strapped Marlins have made Cody Ross and Jorge Cantu available, but are holding off on Ricky Nolasco and Dan Uggla for now, according to FOXSports.com. Florida has a long climb ahead of itself in the second half if it hopes to content for a playoff spot, so drastic roster changes may be inevitable
* It would take “an extraordinary deal” for the Nationals to trade slugger Adam Dunn, general manager Mike Rizzo said Sunday. Rizzo also said the club wants Josh Willingham there “long-term.”
– Alden Gonzalez

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