Results tagged ‘ Phillies ’

1/10 Could Kerry Wood leave Cubs?

Kerry Wood sounds as if he is moving on. Wood appeared on WGN Radio’s Sports Night on Monday night, and said he wants to keep pitching. But he has yet to reach an agreement with the Cubs for 2012.

“Regardless of what happens, we’re still in Chicago, we’re dedicated to the city,” Wood said Monday. “Things will work out for me in the city of Chicago because we’re dedicated to the city, we’re dedicated to the community, we’re dedicated to helping children and again, we’re staying here, we’re raising our family here.

“I’m a Texas boy, but I feel like I’ve become a Chicagoan, so we’re happy to be here whether I finish here or whether I don’t, we plan on being here a long time.”

Last year, Wood unveiled the Wood Family Foundation, dedicated to helping children in the Chicago area. On Friday, he will host “Woody’s Winter Warmup” at Harry Caray’s on Navy Pier, a fund raiser for his foundation. Theo Epstein was scheduled to attend. Wood has been part of the Cubs since he signed at 18, returning last season when he agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million deal. He understands the fans want him to stay.

“There’s always time for change and there’s always room for it so we’ll just have to wait and see,” Wood said.

Last week, Epstein said the team was negotiating with Wood’s agents about a new deal.

“Kerry Wood is exactly the type of guy we want to build a winning culture here in Chicago,” Epstein said. “I would be greatly, greatly disappointed if we’re not able to bring him back.”

The Phillies are one of the teams that has shown interest in Wood.

– Carrie Muskat

1/9 Kerry Wood to make decision

Kerry Wood expects to announce Friday if he’s returning to the Cubs. Wood told NBC-5 Chicago on Sunday night he’ll make a decision by then, which is when the Cubs Convention opens and also when he hosts a fundraiser for his foundation in Chicago. The Phillies are reportedly interested in the right-hander, according to ESPN.com. Before the 2011 season ended, Wood said he will retire rather than pitch for another team. However, the Cubs and Wood apparently have been unable to agree on length of contract or money. Wood gave the Cubs a hometown discount when he signed a $1.5 million contract last December. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly reports Wood is seeking around $4 million. The 34-year-old right-hander was 3-5 with a 3.35 ERA in 55 games last season, which ended in mid September after he suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee. He had surgery in October.

– Carrie Muskat

Madson to Anaheim possible?

That still remains to be seen. But on Wednesday afternoon — after the Red Sox acquired Andrew Bailey from the Athletics in exchange for three young players — it became more possible than ever.

With the Red Sox, a team with money to spend, filling a huge need in the back end of its bullpen by acquiring the young Bailey, the market for Madson has reached a new low. It’s now pretty clear that the 31-year-old right-hander won’t get anything close to what the Phillies reportedly offered him before turning their attention to Jonathan Papelbon (a four-year, $44 million contract).

But just how much of a pay cut he takes is the big question.

It’d have to be a pretty sizeable one for the Angels to be a fit, now that the team has committed more than $330 million to Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. But it’s interesting to note that Wilson turned down a larger contract from the Marlins in order to sign with the Angels and return to Orange County, Calif. — where Madson was also born.

Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said during the Winter Meetings that his mission was to “complement [closer] Jordan Walden, not replace Jordan Walden.” In tune with that, he signed veteran right-hander LaTroy Hawkins to potentially help lefty Scott Downs in a setup role. But getting Madson would be a far bigger step towards improving a bullpen that was tied for first in the American League in blown saves last season.

So far, it appears the Rays and Reds are the two main teams that still need a closer. But the Reds and Francisco Cordero reportedly want a reunion, and the Rays don’t have the financial wherewithal to allocate a lot of money to the ninth inning.

Time for Scott Boras to get creative with Madson.

– Alden Gonzalez

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 talk to Cuddyer; Twins back in the mix

Negotiations continued Thursday between the Rockies and free-agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer. The Mariners, Phillies and a somewhat unexpected suitor, the Twins, are also in the mix. It’s not clear how quickly the Rockies or anyone else can come to an agreement.

Cuddyer has spent his entire Major League career with the Twins, who made him a three-year offer. It was believed that the Twins were no longer a possibility when outfielder Josh Willingham signed for three years and $21 million. But multiple reports said the Twins had not dropped out of the running.

The Rockies’ prime focus is Cuddyer. The team has expressed interest in six-time All-Star outfielder Carlos Beltran, but he is considered a longshot for the Rockies, mainly because of health concerns. Beltran has dealt with serious knee issues, including arthroscopic surgeries on both of them before the 2007 season and a further surgery on the right knee in 2010. The Mets had to be careful with his playing time early last season. Beltran put up strong numbers after being traded to the Giants for their lat-season run. However, the Giants have not signed him even though they have a need in the outfield.

Cody Ross remains a possibility to be signed to work in a tandem in left field with Seth Smith. If Cuddyer is signed, expect the Rockies to attempt to trade Smith to fill other holes.

– Thomas Harding

Low-cost pitching options abound for Angels

The question is how long they’re willing to wait out the likes of C.J. Wilson and Ryan Madson. As The Los Angeles Times pointed out on Monday — Day 1 of the Winter Meetings — new general manager Jerry DiPoto plans to meet with Wilson’s agent here in Dallas. Frankly, why wouldn’t he? The real question is whether it’s possible — or even practical — for the Angels to fork over most of their remaining payroll on one arm, to address the best aspect of the team no less.

If they don’t want to go that route, or commit to Madson — remember, the Phillies reportedly offered four years at $44 million — there are a few low-cost options to be had.

Starting pitcher-wise, Mark Buehrle is the logical fit. Problem: A lot of teams want him, and he’s said to be looking for a no-trade clause as part of at least a three-year deal. Some other lefties to keep in mind: Jeff Francis (4.82 ERA in 31 starts for the Royals last year), Erik Bedard (3.62 ERA in 24 starts for the Red Sox and Mariners) and Paul Maholm (3.66 ERA in 26 starts for the Pirates).

As for the right-handed bullpen arms, there are plenty from which to choose. The most intriguing may be Octavio Dotel, because of how well he pitched down the stretch for the World Series-champion Cardinals and because of his experience as both a setup man and closer. Dotel (38) shifted from a Type A free agent to a Type B under the new CBA, so he won’t cost the team that signs him a Draft pick.

Some others: LaTroy Hawkins, Francisco Cordero, Takahashi Saito, Frank Francisco, Mike MacDougal, Scott Linebrink and Luis Ayala, among a host of others.

– Alden Gonzalez

Pence: ‘I love Houston’

With the Astros possibly getting closer to a deal to trade Hunter Pence, the right-fielder admitted following Thursday night’s win over the Cardinals that he couldn’t help but think it might have been his last game in an Astros uniform.

“What can I say? I’m not in control,” he said. “I love these guys, I love Houston. That’s all I know.”

The Phillies are pushing hard for Pence and could be willing to offer pitcher Vance Worley, outfielder Domonic Brown and a Minor League pitcher.

Pence went 2-for-4 with two doubles on Thursday to raise his average to .309, saying he benefited from a day off.

“Sometimes when you get to watch a game you know it kind of slows things down for you,” he said. “Things were piling up and was making mistakes of the past and trying to do too much just to make up for it. It made me realize…slow the game down.”

Brian McTaggart

Padres have attractive pieces to move

San Diego general manager Jed Hoyer has been busy in recent weeks fielding calls from other teams about relievers who are expected to be available — three-time All-Star Heath Bell, Chad Qualls and, quite possibly, Mike Adams.

The Padres are also looking to move left fielder Ryan Ludwick to a team looking for a right-handed, middle-of-the-order bat.

But, make no mistake, the relievers are getting the most hits.

Bell will be a free agent after the season, so he might end up a rental for a team. If that’s the case, it won’t be easy to land a big prospect package.

Qualls, after a terrible 2010 season, has reestablished himself as a viable late-inning reliever as his hard sinker has returned.

Adams is a wild card here. Many view him as a future close, a spot he figures to land in if the Padres traded Bell.
He’s under team control through 2012 and would get the Padres the best package of prospects if they decided to deal him.

What are the Padres looking for?

Keep this in mind: Upside, impact players. Their farm system doesn’t have too many players ready to graduate to the Major League level. I would expect the Padres to ask for a shortstop/second baseman and catcher in return when they choose to make a deal.

The Phillies and Reds have more of these pieces than, say, the Cardinals. The Cardinals aren’t going to part with Shelby Miller and they don’t have a lot of prospects close to the Major Leagues.

The next two weeks should be interesting. Teams aren’t nearly as willing to part with prospects as they once were. Will the Padres land the upside/impact prospects they covet?

Stay tuned.

– Corey Brock

Roundup: Arbitration looms for some clubs

Spring Training may be fast approaching, but some clubs still have some important business to take care of with pending arbitration cases in the pipeline.
Next Tuesday, clubs will exchange numbers with arbitration-eligible players leading up to the actual hearings next month. Since it’s fairly rare for clubs and players to go all the way through arbitration, there figures to be a good number of agreements in the coming days. 
A few teams avoided arbitration on Wednesday, as the Cubs inked Koyie Hill to a one-year deal and the Tigers signed left fielder Ryan Raburn to a two-year deal. Raburn, 29, has played a sort of super utility role for Detroit in recent years, but he appears in line to grab a lot of the playing time in left field this season, according to MLB.com’s Jason Beck. 
The 31-year-old Hill agreed to a contract worth $850,000, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reported on Wednesday. Hill started 60 games for the Cubs last season and batted .214 with 13 doubles. 

- – The Angels agreed to terms on a 2011 contract with catcher Jeff Mathis, thus avoiding arbitration.
 

Mathis, 27, spent his third full season with the Angels in 2010, batting .195 with 19 runs scored, six doubles, one triple, 3 home runs and 18 RBI in 68 games played. After missing 55 games because of broken wrist, Mathis put together a 13-game hit streak from April 5 – June 22, matching the longest streak by an Angel last season.
 
Mathis is the second Angel to agree to terms and avoid arbitration, leaving the Angels with six remaining arbitration-eligible players (Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick, Kendry Morales, Mike Napoli, Jered Weaver and Reggie Willits).
 
- The Rockies avoided salary arbitration with right-handed reliever Matt Belisle on $2.35 million, according to SI.com. After spending the first five years of his Major League career with the Reds, the 30-year-old Belisle had a career season in his second campaign with the Rockies in 2010. He posted a 2.93 ERA in a career-high relief 76 appearances, averaging 8.9 strikeouts ever nine innings, posting a 7-5 record.
 
- The Royals erased one potential salary arbitration case, signing right-hander Luke Hochevar to a one-year contract. Hochevar, who figures to be the staff ace, had his 2010 season interrupted by a strain in his right elbow, which restricted him to a 6-6 record and 4.81 ERA over 18 games (17 starts).

In addition the latest arbitration news, here’s a look around the rest of the league on Wednesday:

 
- Even after adding Cliff Lee, the Phillies could be looking for even more pitching insurance. The Phils have talked to starter John Maine about joining their already deep staff, ESPN New York.com reported on Wednesday, citing Maine’s agent, Rex Gary. 
- The Mets made their Minor League deal with left-handed reliever Taylor Tankersley official on Wednesday. Tankersley’s deal includes an invite to Spring Training. Tankersley, who will be 28 by Opening Day, could fill the Mets need for a lefty specialist.
- The Rays have agreed to terms with veteran right-hander Kyle Farnesworth, according to multiple media reports. A baseball source confirmed to MLB.com that a deal was “expected” at this point. The one-year deal will reportedly pay Farnesworth $3.25 million and includes a 2012 option.
- The Cubs also inked outfielder Reed Johnson to Minor League contract with a Spring Training invite on Wednesday. Johnson returns to the Cubs after a season with Dodgers and will battle for a roster spot this spring.
– Bailey Stephens

Roundup: Market for veterans heating up

With Spring Training fast approaching, many elite free agents have found their home for 2011, but there are more than a few impact players still on the market. Two such players, Andruw Jones and Jim Thome, headline a group of veteran role players aiming to prove they can still be difference-makers. 
Jones has reportedly drawn interest from the Yankees in recent weeks. At this point, the Bombers see Jones as their best option, SI.com’s Jon Heyman tweeted on Monday, but the two sides are still apart on the money. Jones would seemingly be a strong fit for New York, serving as a fourth outfielder with significant pop off the bench. Jones, 33, would also fit the bill of a right-handed hitting outfielder, which the Yanks have been seeking this offseason.
Thome, another aging yet still productive slugger, is drawing interest from the Rangers, according to a tweet from ESPN’s Buster Olney. Olney reported that the team is “actively trying to lure” the slugger to Texas. After the Rangers signed Adrian Beltre, it began to look unlikely that they’d try to keep Vladimir Guerrero around as the designated hitter. After hitting 25 homers last season, it seems likely that Thome could help fill the power void left by Guerrero. 
Here’s a look at other news and notes from around the league on Monday: 
Jose Bautista could be facing a position switch this season, moving from the outfield to third base, Fox Sports reported on Monday, citing an unnamed team official. Unless the Jays add another starting infielder, Bautista figures to be moving to third to start the season. Bautista, who lead the Majors with 54 home runs in 2010, is scheduled to be a free agent after this season, so it’ll be a key year for the 30-year old, the report noted. 
– Catcher Max Ramirez was claimed off waivers for the second time in less than a week, this time by the Cubs from the Red Sox. Boston claimed Ramirez from the Rangers on Jan. 5. Ramirez, 26, gives the Cubs some additional depth behind the plate. Ramirez, who is out of Minor League options at this point, hit .217 in 28 games with Texas last season.
– The Padres completed a two-year deal with shortstop Jason Bartlett on Monday, which will pay the infielder $11 million over the life of the deal. There is also a vesting option for 2013, which could bring the total of the deal to $15 million according to MLB.com’s Corey Brock. 
– The Red Sox made their one-year deal with left-hander Hideki Okajima official on Monday. After non-tendering him earlier this offseason, the Sox have re-signed Okajima for $1.75 million. Okajima, 35, could increase that figure to the neighborhood of $2.3 million with incentives, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick.
– The Astros and Phillies completed a minor trade, swapping two Minor League players on Monday. Houston sent second baseman Albert Cartwright to Philly in exchange for left-hander Sergio Escalona. Escalona was recently designed for assignment after the Phils re-signed J.C. Romero.
- Bailey Stephens
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