Results tagged ‘ orioles ’
With cold weather and snow blanketing much of the country as the calendar turns over to 2014, baseball fans are growing more and more excited for Spring Training.
The Hot Stove quieted down over the holidays, but you can expect things to heat up again as teams make final pushes for the remaining free agents and cross the final items off their to-do lists before reporting to either Arizona or Florida. Here’s a recap of Friday’s Hot Stove action:
- The biggest news of the day came out of St. Petersburg, where the Rays officially inked first baseman James Loney to a three-year deal. It’s the largest deal awarded to a free agent by the Rays under the current ownership and was a priority for the team coming into the winter, executive vice president Andrew Friedman said.
- The other deal of the day came out of Baltimore, where the Orioles signed speedster Quintin Berry to a minor league deal. The outfielder has been valuable in stints with the Tiger and Red Sox, with whom he’s demonstrated a prowess in stealing bases. Berry, 29, has played all three outfield spots and is a close friend of Orioles center fielder Adam Jones. But, perhaps most importantly, he is 29-for-29 in career stolen base attempts.
- The Reds, down an impact outfielder since losing Shin-Soo Choo to free agency, have reportedly explored adding Grady Sizemore, MLB.com‘s Mark Sheldon reported today. Sizemore hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2011 but has showed plenty of potential while healthy in his time with the Indians.
- Shortstop Stephen Drew remains a free agent, which comes as a bit of a surprise now that he’s proven healthy and capable of helping a club, Marc Nordmandin writes for Sports on Earth. There’s been more chatter about who Drew will not be playing for, Normandin writes, than who he will be playing for.
- CBS Sports‘ Jon Heyman reported the details of Houston’s one-year deal with reliever Jesse Crain on Friday, noting that the right-hander will receive $3.25 million in guaranteed money.
- There figure to be plenty of teams in the running for Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, and Fox Sports‘ Ken Rosenthal reports the D-backs will most assuredly be one of them. He writes that the money the team had earmarked to potentially spend on Choo is now available for other uses — namely a top-tier starting pitcher.
– Joey Nowak
The starting-pitching market currently is focused on Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, whose recent posting opened up what is sure to be a hotly contested bidding war. The 25-year-old is expected to command at least $17 million per season, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
But another free agent who didn’t throw a single Major League pitch last season also seems to be drawing plenty of interest. Lefty Mark Mulder, a 36-year-old former All-Star who last played in 2008, has been making a comeback attempt with a revamped delivery after injuries derailed his career. The experiment has been promising enough that Mulder is mulling over offers from seven teams, with The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reporting that the Angels are “emerging as [a] front-runner.”
In other news from around the league on Friday:
- Tanaka could be the latest addition in an aggressive offseason for the Mariners, although GM Jack Zduriencik declined to comment on any interest he might have. Meanwhile, the hype machine is working at full force with Tanaka, writes our Terence Moore.
- Shin-Soo Choo, who signed a seven-year, $130 million contract with the Rangers, was introduced at the Ballpark in Arlington, with both sides describing it as a “perfect fit.” That financial commitment could make it difficult for Texas to sign Tanaka and almost certainly means that free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz won’t be returning.
- The Angels officially added a powerful left-handed bat, finalizing their one-year contract with veteran slugger Raul Ibanez.
- The Cubs announced their one-year contract with free-agent righty Jose Veras, who is set to take over as the club’s new closer.
- The Mets continue to shop first baseman Ike Davis, reports the New York Post’s Mike Puma, who tweeted that the club is talking to the Brewers, Orioles and Pirates.
- Former Cubs and Rays outfielder Sam Fuld, is deciding between Minor League deals from five teams, according to Zach Links of MLBTradeRumors.com. Each offer includes an invitation to big-league Spring Training.
– Andrew Simon
Major League general managers got perhaps their biggest Christmas present a little early, when Nippon Professional Baseball’s Rakuten Golden Eagles reportedly announced late Tuesday night that they will post star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.
The right-hander, who went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in Japan this season, is certain to command serious interest from several teams, who can submit a maximum bid of $20 million in order to earn the right to negotiate with him. ESPN’s Jim Bowden listed the Yankees, Angels, D-Backs, Rangers and Dodgers as some teams to watch as the situation develops.
The Eagles’ decision also could open the floodgates for the starting-pitcher market. With Tanaka in limbo, the likes of Bronson Arroyo, Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana remained unsigned.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick talked to Arroyo and reported that the Yankees have “touched base” with the durable 36-year-old righty, while the Angels, Orioles and D-backs also could be good fits. Arroyo told Crasnick that his last team, the Reds, has not offered him a one-year deal, and that he hasn’t been close to signing with the Twins, although those clubs still could be options.
In other news from around the league:
- The Dodgers announced the signings of free agents Juan Uribe, Chris Perez, J.P. Howell and Jamey Wright, and general manager Ned Colletti said after those moves he is “pretty much done” tweaking his roster for 2014. Colletti also deflected a question about his club’s interest in Tanaka and reiterated his belief that center fielder Matt Kemp, recovering from a broken ankle, will be ready for Opening Day.
- The Blue Jays re-signed infielder Munenori Kawasaki to a Minor League contract, with an invitation to Spring Training. A fan favorite in Toronto last season, when he hit .229/.326/.308 in 289 plate appearances, Kawasaki will compete for a bench spot and possibly playing time at second base.
- Left-handed reliever Jordan Norberto has agreed to a Minor League deal with the Rays, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser. Norberto posted a 2.77 ERA in 39 appearances for the A’s in 2012 but didn’t pitch in the Majors last season, undergoing Tommy John surgery in June, a month after Oakland released him. Slusser also reports that Norberto still must serve his 50-game suspension that came as a result of the Biogenesis investigation.
- There is mutual interest in a reunion between the Phillies and reliever Ryan Madson, CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury reports. Madson played for Philadelphia from 2003-11 and saved 32 games with a 2.37 ERA in his final season there before having his past two years wiped out by elbow injuries. According to Salisbury, Madson will audition for teams soon after New Years and likely will have to take a Minor League deal.
– Andrew Simon
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 Orioles have claimed right-hander Liam Hendriks off waivers from the Cubs before he could throw a pitch in the Chicago organization. And in the meantime, the Cubs have claimed right-hander Brett Marshall from the Yankees.
Hendriks was claimed by the Cubs from the Twins on Dec. 13. The righty appeared in 10 games (eight starts) for the Twins last year, going 1-3 with a 6.85 ERA in 47 1/3 innings. He also made 16 starts for Triple-A Rochester.
Hendriks was signed by the Twins as an international free agent in 2007, and will be the third Australian-born Oriole in club history (John Stephens in 2002 and Damian Moss in 2003) when he makes his Major League debut. Over six seasons in the Twins minor league system, Hendriks went 42-28 with a 2.99 ERA in 100 games (98 starts).
Marshall, 23, made his MLB debut last season in three relief appearances over two stints with the Yankees, posting a 4.50 ERA (six earned runs in 12 innings). He spent most of last season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, going 7-10 with a 5.13 ERA in 25 starts. He struck out 120 and walked 68.
Marshall was designated for assignment by the Yankees on Dec. 19. After the season, he was considered the Yankees’ sixth-best prospect by Baseball America.
– Joey Nowak
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 pool of potential closers available on the free-agent market shrank on Tuesday, when the Hot Stove was focused on relief pitching.
The Orioles were on the hunt for a closer after trading Jim Johnson to the A’s earlier this offseason, and they now appear set to use some of the savings from that deal on Oakland’s former closer. Grant Balfour, who saved 38 games for the A’s in 2013, reportedly is in agreement on a two-year contract with Baltimore.
The Cubs also might have snatched up a new ninth-inning man after reaching a reported one-year pact with Jose Veras. That would leave Fernando Rodney, Joaquin Benoit, Rafael Betancourt and Chris Perez among a dwindling group of free agents with recent success as closers. The Padres appear to be targeting Benoit for an eighth-inning role in front of Huston Street.
In other news from around the league:
- Highly touted Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka has informed his Nippon Professional Baseball club, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, that he wants to be made available to Major League teams. But even with NPB and MLB having a new posting agreement in place, the Eagles do not have to post Tanaka, and it appears they might be reluctant to do so.
- One club that figures to pursue Tanaka if he becomes available is Arizona, which is looking to add more starting pitching this offseason.
- The Yankees are close to signing a pair of veteran players, reportedly reaching an agreement on a one-year deal with second baseman Brian Roberts and a two-year contract with left-handed reliever Matt Thornton. Meanwhile, New York still would like to add free agent Mark Reynolds but is facing competition from the Angels and Twins, among others, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and MLB Network. Jeff Baker is another veteran bat drawing interest from the club, per the New York Post’s Joel Sherman.
- The Braves’ search for additional starting pitching likely concluded with Monday’s signing of Gavin Floyd to a one-year contract, despite the fact that the righty won’t be ready until May as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery. Atlanta had explored trades for the likes of the Rays’ David Price and the Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija but found the asking prices too steep.
- Our Tom Singer checks in on free-agent righty A.J. Burnett, who has yet to make a decision about whether to retire, return to the Pirates or perhaps pitch for another team. It’s a delay that is making things difficult for Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington.
- After losing out on Juan Uribe, the Marlins continue to search for a third baseman. The club is looking at both free agents and trade possibilities.
- The Mets’ top priority is to trade one of its first basemen, Ike Davis or Lucas Duda. The Brewers and Pirates are the two remaining clubs that seem like obvious trade partners for such a deal. Pittsburgh is interested in both Davis and the Rangers’ Mitch Moreland, according to Heyman.
- The Cardinals’ recent signing of free-agent second baseman Mark Ellis likely will turn out to be their last significant move of the offseason, as GM John Mozeliak acknowledged on Tuesday.
- On the other hand, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said his club still is looking hard at free agents, with the bullpen one area to address. Houston already has signed relievers Chad Qualls and Matt Albers.
– 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
No transactions went down on Wednesday morning, as the third day of the Winter Meetings got underway at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. But there are plenty of rumors and buzz going around. Here is a look at the latest:
- The agent for Rays left-hander David Price told Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and MLB Network that his client wouldn’t consider an extension with the Mariners if traded to Seattle but might do so with other, unspecified teams. Price has two seasons remaining before he hits free agency. Our Greg Johns calls Price and the Mariners “an extremely remote match.”
- Free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo could command a seven-year, $140 million deal, tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. The Mariners and Rangers are in the lead for his services, according to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman.
- The Rangers are staying patient as they wait for asking prices to come down on the likes of Choo and Nelson Cruz, writes our T.R. Sullivan.
- The D-backs are in the market for a starting pitcher, Rosenthal tweets. ESPN’s Jayson Stark mentions free-agent right-hander Matt Garza as a possibility.
- The Nationals’ quest for a left-handed reliever could end soon, according to Rosenthal.
- Rosenthal also describes Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips as “in play” for trade talks.
- Our Carrie Muskat updates the Jeff Samardzija situation, as the Cubs explore a contract extension with the right-hander, who also has been involved in plenty of trade rumors this offseason.
- The Astros are one of the teams interested in often-injured former All-Star outfielder Grady Sizemore.
- The Marlins are listening to offers for outfielder Justin Ruggiano, writes our Joe Frisaro. They also have interest in outfielder Delmon Young, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
- The Orioles have talked with free-agent reliever John Axford, tweets Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com.
– Andrew Simon
With Friday’s flurry of big moves in the rearview mirror and the baseball world gearing up for the start of the Winter Meetings on Monday, the Hot Stove took a bit of a break on Saturday.
Here is a look at the latest news from around the league:
- The Yankees reached official agreements with two free agents, announcing their seven-year contract with outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, as well as re-signing starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda for one year.
After reportedly agreeing to a three-year deal with Carlos Beltran on Friday, the Yankees could be open to dealing from their outfield depth and are “receiving significant interest” in Brett Gardner, according to Andy McCullough of The Star Ledger.
Elsewhere in the American League East, the Red Sox announced their two-year deal with reliever Edward Mujica. Boston general manager Ben Cherington said that while he will continue to look for upgrades, the Sox likely are finished with their “heavy lifting.” On the other hand, Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp is “in play” for the Red Sox, according to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti confirmed that he is open to trading an outfielder, since the club has Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig.
Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who could be in line for a contract extension this offseason, played a little joke via social media.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and MLB Network lists the Dodgers, D-backs, Rangers and Mariners as the teams in the best position to make a trade for Rays ace left-hander David Price at the Winter Meetings. Among the other players Rosenthal believes could be moved this week in Orlando, Fla., are A’s starting pitcher Brett Anderson, Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick, Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija and Orioles catcher Matt Wieters.
The Astros bolstered their bullpen by bringing in right-hander Chad Qualls on a two-year deal.
During a question-and-answer session with fans at the second day of Redsfest, Cincinnati GM Walt Jocketty said it will be “very difficult” to re-sign free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and also downplayed trade rumors about second baseman Brandon Phillips.
With Beltran heading to the Yankees, the Royals will have to look elsewhere to add an impact bat this offseason. Another club that lost out on Beltran, the D-backs, could target the Angels’ Mark Trumbo instead, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
The Marlins could be looking to looking to trade for Rays utility man Sean Rodriguez as they aim to find a solution at third base. Our Joe Frisaro also explains why the Marlins are likely to trade first baseman-outfielder Logan Morrison.
The Orioles added an outfielder, signing Francisco Peguero, who had been designated for assignment and then non-tendered by the Giants. Peguero had been MLB.com’s No. 98 overall prospect going into last season.
– Andrew Simon