Results tagged ‘ mets ’

11/20 Roundup

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

A look at the Rockies’ plans with Hawkins and Brothers, plus notes on batting and pitching pursuits

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

Mets reportedly meet with Cano’s agents

Mets owner Jeff Wilpon, general manager Sandy Alderson and assistant GM John Ricco dined Monday evening with representatives for free agent second baseman Robinson Cano, including the rapper Jay-Z, according to the New York Post. A Mets spokesman declined comment on the report.

The Post was first to report that agents Jay-Z, Brodie Van Wagenen and Juan Perez initiated a meeting with Mets executives at a Manhattan hotel. Cano, according to the report, did not attend.

The meeting took place less than a week after Alderson publicly said he would “probably not” sign any players to nine-figure contracts this winter, making the timing somewhat curious. Cano, whose initial asking price from the Yankees was reportedly 10 years and $310 million, is a sure bet to sign the richest contract of any free agent this winter, well beyond the range of what Alderson has indicated he is willing to offer.

When asked last week if he would ink any player to a nine-figure contract this offseason, Alderson referred to the eight-year, $138-million contract third baseman David Wright signed last winter.

“We’ve been in that stratosphere once recently with David Wright,” Alderson said. “Those were special circumstances. I think it would be difficult to duplicate that again — not from a financial standpoint, just in terms of team-building. I think it’s difficult to concentrate those kinds of resources into very few players. It’s not really the way you build a quality, sustainable, winning team, I don’t think.”

Over his first three offseasons as Mets GM, Alderson has not given out a free agent contract larger than Frank Francisco’s recently-expired two-year, $12-million pact.

Cano, 31, hit .314 with 27 home runs this season for the Yankees, his fifth consecutive year with at least a .300 batting average and 25 homers. He recently joined on with Jay-Z’s new Roc Nation sports agency, which is partnered with Van Wagenen’s Creative Artists Agency.

The Mets’ incumbent second baseman, Daniel Murphy, hit .286 with 13 home runs this season. He is arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter, and should receive a contract of around $5 million.

–Anthony DiComo

Rangers reportedly looking at Choo, not Ellsbury

Jon Heyman reports the Rangers are “considering a run at” outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and have ruled out the possibility of signing fellow outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury

Texas is preparing to replace the offense provided by Nelson Cruz, but would only be able to pursue Choo if the price is right, Heyman says. Reportedly Choo will be seeking contracts in the ballpark of Jayson Werth’s and Carl Crawford’s. 

Part of the reason why the Rangers aren’t as interested in Ellsbury, Heyman says, is because they’re pleased with the job rookie Leonys Martin has done. The Reds, Yankees and Mets have also shown an interest in Choo. 

– Joey Nowak

11/14 Roundup

Although the General Managers Meetings in Orlando, Fla., finished on Wednesday, the baseball world remained plenty busy on Thursday.

The Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera’ and the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen were named the American and National League Most Valuable Players, respectively. The owners gave unanimous approval for funding an expanded instant replay system at their quarterly meeting, another key step on the way toward implementing it for the 2014 season. And Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball’s chief operating officer, revealed that MLB and Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball have hit a snag in their negotiations over the posting-fee system, casting doubt on whether highly touted right-hander Masahiro Tanaka will become available to MLB teams this offseason.

Even with the meetings over, rumors continued to circulate, with Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reporting that free-agent right-hander Ricky Nolasco already has received multiple four-year offers, in the neighborhood of $52-60 million. In other news from around the league:

AL East

  • With rumors flying about whether the Rays will trade ace left-hander David Price, our Bill Chastain examines the pros and cons of such a deal, which would be nothing new for the Rays. The club previously has gotten strong returns for pitchers Matt Garza and James Shields.
  • Jake Peavy’s championship-winning stay in Boston could be short-lived, with our Phil Rogers writing that the Red Sox could look to deal the veteran right-hander. He speculates that the Angels could be one of several clubs to have interest in Peavy.
  • Speaking of players leaving Boston, ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes reports that shortstop Stephen Drew will not return to the Red Sox, who aren’t likely to match other teams’ multiyear offers.
  • Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos might have his work cut out for him as he tries to improve his club while staying within Toronto’s budget this offseason.
  • The Orioles might be considering trading catcher Matt Wieters and closer Jim Johnson, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and MLB Network.
  • Derek Jeter said he feels healthy and is “100 percent” sure he will be the Yankees’ everyday shortstop this season.

AL Central

  • Our Rhett Bollinger addresses some Twins issues, including Joe Mauer’s move to first base and the club’s interest in A.J. Pierzynski.
  • The Royals believe they need to add only one starting pitcher this offseason, writes Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star. That could mean re-signing Ervin Santana or replacing him.

AL West

  • The Rangers agreed to a one-year contract with versatile infielder Adam Rosales, who was eligible for arbitration.
  • Free-agent outfielder and Houston native Chris Young tells our Brian McTaggart that he would like to play for the Astros.

NL East

  • The Marlins are looking to build around their young core, including Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez, rather than continuing to deal away pieces. On the other hand, Rosenthal tweeted that Miami is listening to offers for first baseman Logan Morrison.
  • Veteran right-hander Alfredo Aceves “appears to be a good possibility” to sign with the Mets, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney.
  • Free-agent catcher Carlos Ruiz has been drawing plenty of interest this offseason, but our Todd Zolecki says he still could be a fit in Philadelphia.

NL Central

  • The Brewers have a hole to fill at first base, and while they could look to sign a free agent like James Loney or Justin Morneau or trade for someone like the Mets’ Ike Davis, another appealing option is to bring back Corey Hart. The veteran missed all of last season while recovering from knee surgery and is a free agent.
  • Speedy Reds prospect Billy Hamilton is playing winter ball in Puerto Rico and could get a chance to be the club’s center fielder if free agent Shin-Soo Choo signs elsewhere.

NL West

  • Dodgers club president Stan Kasten isn’t ruling out anything but said he doesn’t expect to make any splashy moves this offseason that would add significantly to the team’s already large payroll.
  • As the Rockies seek a replacement for retired first baseman Todd Helton, sources have told The Denver Post’s Troy Renck that they are interested in free agents Mike Napoli and James Loney.

– Andrew Simon

Teams inquire about Rockies’ Fowler

The idea that the Cardinals and Rockies would discuss a trade involving shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was the big rumor going into the General Managers Meetings in Orlando this week, but that never happened. However, industry sources said several teams inquired about the availability of center fielder Dexter Fowler. As the Denver Post’s Troy Renck reported this week, the Rockies have asked Carlos Gonzalez, who has extensive experience in center, if he would switch from left to center if Fowler is dealt.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com explains the Rockies’ position, and his report involving the Mets and first baseman Ike Davis could point to a possibility, and Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com (via Twitter) identifies the Mariners as a suitor. ESPN Insider AJ Mass reports that the Reds and Rockies have talked, with three-time Gold Glove second baseman Brandon Phillips possibly coming to Denver, and the Reds moving speedy Billy Hamilton from center field to second.

But the Rockies have a lot of thinking to do before dealing Fowler. Although Fowler suffered finger, ankle and knee injuries and saw his numbers drop (.263, .369 OBP, .407 SLG, after .300/.389/.474 in 2012), the Rockies aren’t forgetting his .399 OBP before he was hit on the right hand by a pitch in June and the spiral began. Fowler also finished with 12 home runs, one shy of his career high, in 119 games.

The Rockies are already seeking a power bat for a corner position, either right field or first base, help in the starting rotation and a hard-throwing veteran for their bullpen. Any deal would most likely have to address one of the existing needs and replacing Fowler.

Fowler is due $7.35 million in 2014, and is still under club control for 2015.

In other Rockies Hot Stove-related developments:

–The Rockies, who have depended on the Draft and player development (more successfully in the past than with the current team), are reluctant to lose a 2014 pick by signing a player who received a qualifying offer from his former club. It wouldn’t hurt the Rockies as much as another team because the pick would be their second-highest rather than the first-rounder because the Rockies select in the top 10. Still, if the Rockies fill their corner bat hole through free agency, it will more likely be a player that doesn’t cost compensation — for example, James Loney, Justin Morneau, Corey Hart — than Carlos Beltran, Nelson Cruz or Mike Napoli, all of whom turned down qualifying offers.

– The Rockies made a play for catcher Carlos Ruiz but got sticker shock after hearing rumors he had received a two-year, $20 million offer, but they continue to monitor the situation and could be in play if the bidding doesn’t go that high.

– Thomas Harding

Plenty of interest in Mets’ Davis

Multiple outlets have reported that there’s been significant interest in Mets first baseman Ike Davis, with CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman saying the Astros, Orioles, Rays, Brewers and Rockies are among the suitors.

The Mets also have Josh Satin and Lucas Duda to play first base, so they figure to be likely to move one of them this winter. But ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin says the team could wait until later in the offseason to make a trade, when the market prompts more teams to look into deals.

– Joey Nowak

Mets more likely to buy than sell?

Though the Mets are still not close to playoff contention despite playing better of late, they may (rather counter-intuitively) be more likely to buy than sell at this year’s Trade Deadline.

Simply put, the Mets do not have many pieces to sell that would be of use to contenders. Their best trade chip, starting pitcher Jon Niese, is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury, sapping him of any short-term value. Closer Bobby Parnell is another desirable chip, but the Mets have already expressed a desire to hang onto him. And starter Shaun Marcum’s salary ($4 million plus incentives) and on-field struggles may prove prohibitive.

What the Mets do have a surplus of are pitching prospects, from Rafael Montero to Noah Syndergaard to Michael Fulmer, Domingo Tapia and others. Packaging several of them together could land them an elite outfield prospect, or even a veteran outfielder at the big league level.

“If [a high-profile trade offer] came up this year, would we talk about [the top Minor League pitchers]? That’s a good question,” assistant general manager John Ricco recently told the New York Post. “Knowing what we have now, we could go either way on it. You could basically say, ‘Hey, we’re going to see this through with pitching and just go all in that way and just try to address the hitters through free agency or lower-level trades,’ or we could say, ‘Hey, we’ve got enough, we think — with the pitching we have now — we have enough to move one of the other guys.’”

Ricco went on to say that in any event, the Mets will practice prudence.

“It’s one thing to look for somebody to help us this year,” he told the Post. “To find someone to help for the long term, it’s a much smaller universe of players. … I think it might be tougher to do a deal like that.”

–Anthony DiComo

Mets offer Bourn a meal, not a deal

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson and assistant GM John Ricco flew to Houston last week to have dinner with free-agent outfielder Michael Bourn and his agent, Scott Boras, according to the New York Post. But the meal “was more a getting-to-know-you session than a dollars-and-cents negotiation,” according to the newspaper, “at a time when the dollars and cents remain among the most significant hurdles in doing a deal.”

Alderson has made it clear to MLB.com and other media outlets that he is not willing to give up the Mets’ 11th overall draft pick as compensation in order to sign Bourn. So barring some successful 11th-hour rules appeal, it’s difficult to envision a deal happening — secret dinner or not.

Anthony DiComo

Mets, Yankees show interest in Ben Francisco

Both New York teams, as well as three other clubs, have contacted the representative for free agent outfielder Ben Francisco, according to Mark Hale of the New York Post.

Agent John Boggs tells Hale that he and his client are looking for the “best opportunity” for Francisco “and who will offer the most at-bats.” Francisco, 31, batted .240 with four home runs and 15 RBIs in 82 games last season with the Blue Jays, Astros and Rays.

The Mets and Yankees have also both expressed interest in signing Scott Hairston as they seek a right-handed hitting outfielder, but Hairston is believed to want at least a two-year deal.

- Bryan Hoch

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