Results tagged ‘ masahiro tanaka ’

1/23 Roundup

The theory went that once Masahiro Tanaka signed, the rest of the free-agent market would loosen up after weeks at a near standstill. Well, the Yankees won the bidding for the Japanese right-hander on Wednesday, and on Thursday — as if on cue — more action followed.

Although several significant free agents remain available — pitchers such as Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana, for instance — the chips began to fall in Tanaka’s wake. With the Rays signing closer Grant Balfour and the Brewers drawing close to a deal with starter Matt Garza, Thursday was a signal that the Hot Stove could once again be sizzling.

Here’s a look at news from around the league:

  • Garza reportedly had agreed to a four-year, $52 million deal with the Brewers on Thursday, but the club later announced that negotiations were “ongoing.” If the contract goes through, it will qualify as a strong move for Milwaukee, writes MLB.com columnist Mike Bauman.
  • Balfour had a deal with the Orioles fall through earlier in the offseason after issues arose with his physical, and that allowed the veteran to wind up back with Tampa Bay, on a two-year deal. Balfour was a setup man for the Rays from 2007-10 but returns as the club’s ninth-inning man after a successful stint in Oakland.
  • Tanaka held a press conference with the Japanese media in Tokyo and said the Yankees gave him the “highest evaluation,” and he is “going there to win the World Series.”
  • Tanaka’s new general manager, Brian Cashman, said his offseason “heavy lifting” likely is complete, although there still are areas for him to address. According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and MLB Network, the club is considering adding free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew, now that it won’t be able to stay under the luxury tax threshhold. Drew could play second base or move back to short if Derek Jeter is injured.
  • With Clayton Kershaw’s massive extension with the Dodgers now about a week old, two other All-Star pitchers expressed their desire for long-term contracts that would allow them to stay put. Reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer told reporters at the Tigers’ Winter Caravan that he hopes to get something done by this spring, or if not, after the season. Meanwhile, Red Sox lefty Jon Lester stated his desire to remain with the only organization he has known for the rest of his career.
  • On the topic of extensions, the Marlins have interest in signing slugger Giancarlo Stanton to one, now that they have avoided arbitration with a one-year contract for 2014.
  • This has been a much more patient type of offseason for the Angeles, writes MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez, who also takes a look at five free-agent starters whom the team could target.
  • Elsewhere in the AL West, the Mariners also are looking to add a starter, preferably a veteran who could fill the No. 3 slot in their rotation behind Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma.
  • Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said he thought his club was going to be able to sign outfielder Grady Sizemore but that Sizemore, “changed his mind at the last minute,” before signing with the Red Sox on Wednesday.
  • Thursday also brought some Minor League deals for veteran players, with righties Jon Rauch and David Aardsma signing with the Royals and Indians, respectively, lefty Aaron Laffey going to the Orioles and outfielder Endy Chavez returning to the Mariners.
  • The Giants avoided arbitration with infielder Joaquin Arias, signing him to a two-year deal.

– Andrew Simon

1/21 Roundup

Masahiro Tanaka has captivated Hot Stove followers for much of the offseason, and now that the deadline for the Japanese free agent to choose a Major League team is fast approaching, Tanaka Watch is only intensifying. Several interested teams, including the D-backs, are waiting intently for his decision.

As MLB.com’s Doug Miller writes, Tuesday was another day with much speculation but little actual news, starting with an innocuous Tanaka tweet that quickly was misinterpreted.

Regardless of where Tanaka ends up, the long process will leave him with huge expectations and several disppointed suitors, as MLB.com columnist Phil Rogers writes. Tanaka also is a shining reminder of baseball’s international growth, according to columnist Mike Bauman.

In other news from around the league on Tuesday:

  • The Indians have not taken part in an arbitration hearing since 1991, but as MLB.com Indians beat writer Jordan Bastian reports, the longest streak in the Majors seems likely to end this year. The club and All-Star righty Justin Masterson exchanged salary figures that stand nearly $4 million apart, a gap that could be too wide to cross without a hearing. Bastian also reports that the two sides remain far apart on a possible contract extension, with Masterson set for free agency after this season.
  • Astros owner Jim Crane confirmed that his club, underdogs in the Tanaka sweepstakes, nonetheless has participated in the bidding.
  • The White Sox have a Tanaka-or-bust mentality when it comes to adding to their rotation, reports beat writer Scott Merkin, who doesn’t believe the club will explore other free-agent options, such as Matt Garza or Ubaldo Jimenez.
  • The Angels, on the other hand, have targeted Garza, as Alden Gonzalez writes in his latest inbox. Bronson Arroyo, Paul Maholm and Chris Capuano could be some of their other options as they try to bolster their rotation.
  • Reds beat writer Mark Sheldon addresses several issues in his inbox, including a potential signing of Grady Sizemore and the status of Homer Bailey.
  • The Phillies had a busy day, highlighted by signing Bobby Abreu to a Minor League deal. Abreu, a star with the club from 1998-2006, didn’t play in the Majors last season but parlayed a strong winter ball campaign in Venezuela into another chance. Philadelphia also avoided arbitration with lefty reliever Antonio Bastardo and signed veteran righty Chad Gaudin to a Minor League deal, getting a pitcher with the versatility to start or come out of the bullpen.
  • As part of this notebook, Rangers beat writer T.R. Sullivan reports that the Rangers are “cautiously optimistic” that starters Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis, both on the comeback trail from injuries, will be 100 percent for Spring Training. Lewis is one candidate for the No. 5 starter job, in a race that also includes second-year righty Nick Tepesch.
  • The Royals signed outfielder Justin Maxwell to a one-year contract, avoiding arbitration and leaving them with two unsigned arbitration-eligible players.

– Andrew Simon

1/20 Roundup

When Clayton Kershaw signs a contract extension worth $215 million or Japanese free agent Masahiro Tanaka chooses which Major League team will enjoy his services, there is no question the consequences will be significant.

But on the Hot Stove, even small pieces of news can carry big ramifications.

Take the Braves’ inability to reach one-year deals with arbitration-eligible stars Craig Kimbrel, Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward last week. The club exchanged salary figures with each player on Friday and appears unlikely to work out any agreements prior the hearings that will come during the first three weeks of next month. As MLB.com’s Mark Bowman writes, these cases could impact the franchise’s course for several years to come, with its crop of young standouts growingly rapidly more expensive — and possibly too expensive to keep in the long term.

In other news from around the league on Monday:

  • The Rays settled on a 2014 contract with ace left-hander David Price last week, avoiding arbitration and taking another step toward keeping the former American League Cy Young Award winner in Tampa Bay for another season. While the always creative Rays still could find an enticing trade for Price, it’s looking more and more like he will be the club’s Opening Day starter, as MLB.com columnist Anthony Castrovince writes.
  • The Mariners struck one of the big blows of the offseason by signing free-agent second baseman Robinson Cano, but as MLB.com columnist Tracy Ringolsby discusses, they continue to search for ways to improve following a 71-win season.
  • Rumors have swirled around Tanaka all offseason, through negotiations over a new posting system, the Rakuten Golden Eagles’ decision about whether to let him go, and then the current bidding war among MLB clubs. But the issue of the right-hander’s U.S. destination finally will be settled this week.
  • Minor League signings don’t tend to get much attention, but at Sports on Earth, Jack Moore discusses six who could make an impact this season, including the Rangers’ Colby Lewis and the Brewers’ Mark Reynolds.
  • Milwaukee added another veteran first baseman on a Minor League deal, bringing in Lyle Overbay for his second stint with the club.
  • Rangers lefty Matt Harrison, coming back from an injury-plagued ‘13, is on track to begin the season in the team’s starting rotation, which needs all the help it can get with Derek Holland likely sidelined for the first half. As T.R. Sullivan writes, Texas is mulling its fifth-starter options, which include internal candidates, as well as free agents.
  • With Kershaw’s signing done, the Dodgers could have Hanley Ramirez next on their agenda.
  • In his latest inbox, MLB.com Indians beat writer Jordan Bastian explains why the Tribe is unlikely to trade either shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera or pitcher Justin Masterson before the start of the season, despite both players being one year from free agency.
  • Yankees beat writer Bryan Hoch tackles several topics in his own inbox, including the possibility of a Stephen Drew signing or an Ichiro Suzuki trade.

– Andrew Simon

Cubs are definitely in on Tanaka

Two of the teams considered to be key players in the Masahiro Tanaka bidding are from the Windy City, and Bruce Levine confirmed the Cubs have made a serious play to land the Japanese ace.

The Cubs brass met with fans on Saturday at the annual Cubs Convention in Chicago and said now it’s just a wait-and-see situation with many clubs seeking Tanaka’s services. Jayson Stark wrote this week many suspect the Cubs will be his new team.

Levine reported on Saturday morning the Cubs “made Tanaka a real offer to be [their] ace and grow with their other talented young players.”

MLB.com‘s Carrie Muskat tweeted there’s not much of an update to the situation other than to “waiting to see how it plays out.”

– Joey Nowak

1/16 Roundup

With Major League teams scheduled to exchange salary figures with arbitration-eligible players on Friday, Thursday’s most popular Hot Stove activity was finding a way to prevent the awkwardness of continuing the arbitration process.

The Rays’ David Price was the most high-profile of several players who agreed to one-year deals, thereby avoiding arbitration. The 2012 American League Cy Young winner will make $14 million in his second-to-last season of club control.

Price, the subject of frequent trade rumors, told reporters during a conference call that he wants to remain with Tampa Bay, although the deal does not guarantee the club won’t trade him before or during this season.

In other news from around the league:

  • Others who avoided arbitration with one-year deals included Ike Davis with the Mets, Jim Johnson and John Jaso with the A’s, Chris Heisey with the Reds, Ross Detwiler with the Nationals, Wilton Lopez with the Rockies and Tim Collins with the Royals.
  • Even with Clayton Kershaw locked up with a massive contract extension, the Dodgers could be far from done making big moves, writes MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick. Los Angeles remains a possible destination for Japanese free agent right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, and shortstop Hanley Ramirez could be in line for his own extension heading into the last year of his contract.
  • Kershaw’s seven-year, $215 million deal could have implications for the other defending Cy Young Award winner, the Tigers’ Max Scherzer. As MLB.com’s Jason Beck writes, Scherzer figures to benefit as he enters his third year of arbitration. The Tigers will have to pay up big if they want to keep him off next winter’s free-agent market.
  • Cubs manager Rick Renteria said he was part of a contingent that met recently with Tanaka in California. Many MLB owners apparently are convinced the Cubs will “blow away the field and sign Tanaka to a monster deal,” according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
  • The Orioles and free-agent righty Bronson Arroyo are engaged in “ongoing discussions,” according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, who adds that the Dodgers are also involved.
  • The Brewers have drawn close to signing first baseman Mark Reynolds to a Minor League contract. Reynolds would figure to compete for playing time at first base, a weak spot for Milwaukee.
  • The Indians announced their Minor League deal with outfielder Nyjer Morgan, who is bringing his Tony Plush persona back to the U.S. after spending 2013 in Japan.
  • The Mariners added to their catching depth by signing veteran John Buck to a one-year deal.
  • The Royals brought in a pair of veteran pitchers on Minor League contracts, signing righties Brad Penny and Guillermo Mota.
  • Other Minor League signings on Thursday included catcher Michael McKenry with the Rockies, infielder John McDonald with the Angels, pitcher Henry Rodriguez with the Marlins and infielder Chris Getz with the Blue Jays.

– Andrew Simon

1/16 Cubs and Tanaka

Could Masahiro Tanaka pick the Cubs? According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs are “pushing hard” for the Japanese pitcher. Rosenthal also reports the Angels, Yankees and Dodgers are involved with the right-hander. The White Sox have confirmed that they met with Tanaka and his agent in Los Angeles. Tanaka, 25, was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 212 innings last season for the Rakuten Golden Eagles, who posted the right-hander for a $20 million fee. The bidding for Tanaka will end at 4 p.m. CT on Jan. 24.

– Carrie Muskat

Report: Orioles looking for starter, backup catcher — not closer

One of the Orioles’ most high-profile moves this winter was one that never actually came to fruition, and now it appears the club is prepared to move in an entirely different direction.

Baltimore was close to signing free agent closer Grant Balfour but the deal fell through because of last-minute issues with his physical. Now, the Baltimore Sun‘s Dan Connolly reports, the team is moving on from looking for an outside candidate to close and is more focused on securing starting pitching and/or a backup catcher.

According to his report, the Orioles “have made it known that they are comfortable with in-house options at closer.” NBC Sports‘ Aaron Gleeman suggests the top candidate, then, would be Tommy Hunter, who filled the setup role last season.

As for the team’s prominent needs, Connolly said the team is not in the running for Masahiro Tanaka but Dan Duquette says the club is talking with a number of other starters. Matt Garza, Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez and Bronson Arroyo remain viable options.

Connolly points to Mike McKenry as a possible backup for Matt Wieters (Baltimore currently has  Steve Clevenger, Johnny Monell and Michael Ohlman on the 40-man). John Buck and Miguel Olivo are other possible free agent options.

– Joey Nowak

Tanaka meetings reportedly begin

The pursuit for Japan’s Masahiro Tanaka has reportedly reached U.S. soil.

Multiple international outlets have reported the sought-after righty arrived in America on Wednesday to begin taking meetings with a number of MLB clubs who hope to sign him.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports Tanaka could see approximately 12 teams by Friday in the L.A. area, with the Dodgers, Angels, Cubs, White Sox, Yankees and D-backs among those most interested. Heyman also reports Tanaka is scheduled to see an L.A. area doctor, who could provide a medical update to the interested teams.

Tanaka, 25, had a 2.30 ERA in seven seasons in Japan — including 24-0 and 1.27 last year — and is expected to fetch a contract in the $100M range. He was posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles in December and has until Jan. 24 to reach a deal. If he and agent Casey Close can’t work out an agreement, Tanaka will return to Japan to play next year.

Heyman reports there has also been interest from the Blue Jays, Mariners, Twins and Rangers, but says there has been no mention of any meetings between those parties.

– Joey Nowak

1/8 Roundup

The Hot Stove took a back seat to the Hall of Fame on Wednesday, when Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas saw their tickets to Cooperstown punched.

But even with the spotlight on former players, news continued to trickle in about some who still are in uniform, including a few who are looking for a new one.

  • Free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz carries one of the most powerful bats on the market, and his name has been tied to several teams. But the veteran remains unsigned as the offseason drags on, an issue MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby explores in his latest column.
  • Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti addressed several topics, revealing that he has talked with the agent for Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, while also engaging in extension talks with Clayton Kershaw and Hanley Ramirez. Colletti also is looking to add an infielder.
  • The D-backs have a “plan of attack” in their pursuit of Tanaka, but they’re not offering up much in the way of details.
  • With Tanaka set to meet with Major League clubs in the coming days, the Japanese media is reporting that he flew to the U.S. on Wednesday, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. David Waldstein of The New York Times reported that Tanaka is currently in Chicago.
  • As part of a Q&A with MLB.com’s Bill Ladson, Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond addresses the possibility of a contract extension and says it isn’t a distraction for him. Desmond and teammate Jordan Zimmermann are potential candidates for extensions, as both have two seasons remaining before free agency.
  • The Tigers and shortstop Jose Iglesias agreed on a new one-year contract.
  • The Marlins re-signed veteran righty Kevin Slowey to a Minor League deal, with an invitation to Spring Training.

– Andrew Simon

1/7 Roundup

The Dodgers have transformed into the financial powerhouse of the West, and up the Pacific Coast, the Mariners have flexed their muscles this offseason. Both figure to be serious players in the bidding for coveted Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, but could a couple of other clubs from the region also emerge as serious challengers?

The Angels will get involved, as MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez writes, and they could use the rotation upgrade. But with long-term deals for the likes of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton already in place, another large contract could push them past the luxury-tax threshold before even considering a potential extension for Mike Trout.

The D-backs would love to add Tanaka as they seek to unseat the Dodgers in the National League West. They intend to be serious players for his services, writes MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert, but like with the Angels, such a deal could prove to be “a financial stretch” in Arizona.

In other news from around the league on Tuesday:

  • Braves president John Schuerholz told Jim Bowden of Sirius/XM radio that his club is not a contender for Tanaka. Meanwhile, Tanaka will meet with the Cubs and White Sox this week, reports Luke Stuckmeyer of Comcast SportsNet. However, MLB.com’s Scott Merkin tweets that the Sox aren’t currently “major players” in the bidding.
  • Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. discussed his team’s offseason, addressing potential interest in Tanaka and former closer Ryan Madson, as well as a recently signed television deal worth a reported $2.5 billion.
  • The representatives for free-agent righty Ubaldo Jimenez are telling clubs that he expects a multiyear deal with an annual salary of at least $14 million, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and MLB Network.
  • Reds righty Homer Bailey addressed his involvement in offseason trade rumors during an interview on MLB Network Radio on Sirius/XM.
  • Tuesday’s Minor League signings brought catcher Ramon Hernandez to the Royals, infielder Robert Andino to the Pirates and outfielder Xavier Nady to the Padres.

– Andrew Simon

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 646 other followers