Results tagged ‘ Rangers ’
Lance Berkman told MLB.com on Saturday he had agreed to a one-year with deal with a vesting option for 2014 with the Texas Rangers, pending a physical. Berkman said he was mulling retirement and wouldn’t have played if the circumstances weren’t right.
The Rangers proved to be the perfect fit for several reasons, Berkman said.
“There is a lot of things,” he said. “One is the opportunity to DH. I think that’s going to be really good for me from a physical standpoint in terms of staying healthy for a full year and obviously geography – I’m a Texas guy all the way – so I could get back to the home state and being close to home is huge for me and my family. I think the Rangers have an excellent chance to win. I think they have a very solid team, so all those things kind of add up and it makes a lot of sense.”
Berkman, who turns 37 on Feb. 10, was considering retirement after an injury-plagued 2012 with the Cardinals. He underwent two surgeries on his right knee and played 32 games, hitting .259 with an .826 OPS, two home runs and seven RBIs. Berkman appeared in only six games and started two after July 29 and was left off St. Louis’ playoff roster.
– Brian McTaggart
R.A. Dickey’s storybook three-year run with the Mets may be coming to an end. The Mets are seriously discussing a trade of the reigning Cy Young Award-winner, according to multiple people involved in the negotiations, and could strike a deal as soon as Saturday. The Blue Jays are reportedly frontrunners for his services.
But people involved with the negotiations said Friday evening that nothing was imminent. For at least one more night, the Mets expected Dickey to remain in their employ.
The Jays, who possess surplus catching and outfield depth, have long been considered natural trade partners for the Mets, and now appear to be closing in on his services. Some combination of catchers Travis d’Arnaud or J.P. Arencibia, in addition to outfielder Anthony Gose, could land Dickey.
MLB.com reported late Friday afternoon that the Rangers, long considered serious suitors for Dickey, are no longer in the running. And despite rampant speculation that Josh Hamilton’s arrival in Orange County could prompt the Angels to trade some of their outfield surplus, a deal with the Halos appears no more likely now than it was at the beginning of this week.
UPDATE, 11:24 AM PT: Josh Hamilton is headed to the Angels, a source told MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. According to ESPNDallas.com, Hamilton signed a five-year deal.
It seemed like the Angels were mostly done for the offseason, after acquiring two starting pitchers (Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton) and two back-end relievers (Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett) to push their payroll to about $140 million.
But maybe that has changed.
ESPN.com’s Buster Olney wrote via Twitter on Thursday that the Angels are “positioning themselves for a big strike in the market,” speculating that high-priced free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton could be the target. Joe McDonnell of FOXSportsWest.com attributed a Major League source in tweeting that the Angels are in serious negotiations with Hamilton.
On Wednesday, when the four new pitchers were introduced at the ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said: “I don’t feel like anything else is imminent, I don’t feel like anything else is pressing and I don’t think anything else is required.” And a source told MLB.com that if the Angels do make another signing, it’d probably be in January if the market dries up on a starting pitcher, prompting him to take much lower than expected.
But has owner Arte Moreno suddenly decided to stretch out the budget once more, like he did last offseason to acquire Albert Pujols? And is it a reaction to the big-ticket moves made by the Dodgers, as Olney speculated?
– Alden Gonzalez
The Angels continue to sound like a club that isn’t counting on resigning Zack Greinke.
Obviously, things can change very quickly, and Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto has a recent track record of being very coy about his pursuit of big-name free agents (see: 2011 Winter Meetings). But the price tags continue to be sky high — with Dan Haren signing for $13 million and Shane Victorino reportedly getting a three-year, $39 million deal from the Red Sox — and the Angels continue to seem content with simply adding one middle-tier starter and one back-end reliever.
On Tuesday afternoon, Day 2 of the Winter Meetings from the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi tweeted that the Dodgers “have become [the] clear favorite to land Greinke,” echoing a sentiment that has been widely reported/speculated for most of the offseason. The Angels, who continue to be portrayed as a dark horse, want to avoid what happened last season, when they committed a lot of money to the rotation and were essentially tapped out in August, unable to add to a bullpen that badly needed an upgrade.
The Nationals dropped out on Greinke with the Haren signing, seemingly making it a three-team race. If Greinke’s price gets to $150 million, the Angels are likely out. If he’s willing to settle for something less, they have a chance.
But this is still the most likely scenario for Dipoto: Sign one No. 3 starter to slot between Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, and Tommy Hanson and Garrett Richards/Jerome Williams (Ryan Dempster, Edwin Jackson, Brandon McCarthy, etc.); sign one more back-end reliever to complement Ryan Madson, Ernesto Frieri, Scott Downs and Kevin Jepsen (Mike Adams, Sean Burnett, Koji Uehara, etc.).
Dipoto wouldn’t go into much detail in his daily briefing with local reporters on Tuesday, but he did re-iterate that he’s “100 percent” only looking at pitchers and that free agency — not the trade market — is almost his sole focus. The Angels did circle back with Haren, talking to him as recently as Monday, and a source said they improved on their original offer (one-year at $4 million with an $8 million vesting option) before buying out his contract.
Asked whether he was close on any pitchers, Dipoto said …
“Can’t say for certain that I’m getting warm on anything, but again, we’ve picked up the targets that we’re most interested in, we’ve had great discussions — in some cases multiple layers. We’re making progress, the extent of which I can’t tell you. I don’t know if anything gets done today, tomorrow, or post-[Winter Meetings], but I am certain that we’ll line up with a team on the field, and time will make the proper decision.”
– Alden Gonzalez
UPDATE, MONDAY, 1:30 P.M. PT: Fujikawa did indeed meet with Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto this weekend, a source confirmed to MLB.com, with Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times specifying that it took place Saturday and Mike Scioscia was also in attendance.
Right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa, the top closer in Japan for nearly a decade, is a free agent now, has begun meeting with Major League clubs and is slated to stop by the Angels’ facility, according to a recent report in The Dallas Morning News, which added that the 32-year-old had already visited with the D-backs and Cubs and was also slated to meet with the Dodgers. The Rangers are also believed to have interest.
Since he’s a free agent, Fujikawa won’t have to go through the expensive posting system, where teams bid on the rights to simply negotiate with a player. Fujikawa, who mixes a mid-90s fastball with a split-finger and slider, has gone 42-25 with a 1.77 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP, 914 strikeouts and 220 saves in 692 1/3 career innings for the Hanshin Tigers. In 2012, he posted a 1.24 ERA and 41 saves in 56 games.
Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto likes him, but he’s among several free agents the club is looking at in hopes of improving the bullpen.
“I have seen Fujikawa; we have up-to-date scouting reports on him,” Dipoto said. “We have scouted him, as have the 29 other Major League clubs. He’s no secret in the industry. Everyone has seen him. He’s been a premier closer in Japan for the last half-dozen, seven years, and it remains to be seen where he winds up. But he’s one of the available free agents, and therefore he’s a name that we, like everybody else, have considered.”
– Alden Gonzalez
As the offseason ensues, and the chances of Torii Hunter returning to the Angels continues to look awfully bleak, the list of potential suitors for the veteran right fielder continues to grow.
On Monday, CBSSports.com reported that as many as 13-14 teams have checked in on Hunter, with the Tigers, Rangers and Braves being the most aggressive. The Dodgers are out on Hunter, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com, which said Hunter will make a decision on his 2013 destination within the next couple weeks.
As for the Angels? They haven’t offered Hunter anything more than a one-year, $5 million contract since mid-September, a source said, because they have plenty of depth in their outfield and need to allocate funds to shore up their pitching — specifically a rotation that has only two 2012 members guaranteed to return and a bullpen that blew 22 saves.
General manager Jerry Dipoto previously admitted that it’s “not likely” Hunter returns, and Hunter’s agent, Larry Reynolds, echoed those same thoughts. They could free up more money for Hunter if they get something back on the $42 million owed to Vernon Wells over the next two seasons, but that doesn’t seem favorable right now, either.
Hunter, 37, batted a career-high .313 with 16 homers and 92 RBIs in 2012. His production, health and athleticism at this stage in his career, coupled with his leadership and character, make him an appealing, affordable free agent. So does not having to give up a Draft pick to sign him, since the Angels didn’t tender a $13.3 million qualifying offer to Hunter.
“My plan is to win no matter what, and of course I’m going to try to get with a ballclub that’s trying to win,” Hunter recently told MLB.com. “That’s the plan.”
Ryan Dempster apparently said yes to the Rangers. The Cubs’ makeover continued Tuesday when they reportedly traded Dempster to the defending American League champions, finalizing the deal minutes before the 3 p.m. CT Trade Deadline. The Cubs have yet to confirm the deal but multiple reports said it was done.
The 35-year-old right-hander, who ranks among the National League leaders with a 2.25 ERA, had favored a deal to the Dodgers but apparently altered his wish list. The Yankees also were believed to be in talks with the Cubs. <p> The Cubs thought they had a deal last week which would’ve sent Dempster to the Braves but the right-hander exercised his 10-and-5 rights (10 years of service, five with the same team) and rejected that move. He had given Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, a list of teams he would prefer.
Dempster will be a pure rental. Players must be with a team for an entire season in order to qualify for draft-pick compensation. This is in the last year of his four-year contract with the Cubs, which was paying him $14 million this season. His career has come full circle. Dempster was selected by the Rangers in the third round of the 1995 First-Year Player Draft by the Rangers, then traded in ’96 to the Marlins.
– Carrie Muskat
It’s now official. Geovany Soto moved up in the standings, traded by the Cubs to the Rangers for Minor League right-handed pitcher Jake Brigham and a player to be named or cash consideration. Soto, 29, has been in the Cubs system since he was drafted in 2001. The trade was reported Monday night as Soto was pulled from the game after the Pirates sixth inning, but wasn’t finalized until Tuesday morning. As he left Monday night’s game, Soto was greeted in the dugout by handshakes and hugs from his teammates. He was batting .199 this season in 52 games this season. He missed time because of a torn meniscus in his left knee. The 2008 National League Rookie of the Year, Soto was being paid $4.3 million this year, and on track to go to arbitration for the third time this offseason.
The defending American League champion Rangers lead the West division by 3 1/2 games.
The Cubs were expected to call up catcher Welington Castillo from Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday with Clevenger taking over as the regular catcher. Clevenger was in the weight room, preparing in case he was needed to pinch hit when he got word that he had to get into the game to catch.
Brigham, 24, was 5-5 with a 4.28 ERA in 21 starts for Double-A Frisco this season. He went 3-1 with a 3.60 ERA (16 ER/40.0 IP) in 21 relief outings last season. In 2012, Brigham was named to the mid-season Texas League All-Star team. He was selected in the sixth round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of Central Florida Christian Academy in Orlando, Fla. In 135 Minor League appearances, Brigham is 27-42 with one save and a 4.40 ERA.
– Carrie Muskat
* The Rangers, who scouted the Diamondbacks’ Justin Upton earlier this month, had a scout at Thursday’s Tigers-Indians game, reportedly to check out the Indians’ Shin-Soo Choo according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com. With the Rangers scoring the fewest runs of any American League club this month entering play Friday, general manager Jon Daniels could be interested in adding another power bat to the lineup ahead of Tuesday’s deadline. According to a tweet from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, however, Texas may have to look elsewhere with the Indians now likely to hold onto Choo.<p>
* It appears the Angels haven’t given up on Rays starter James Shields just yet according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, though one source with knowledge of the team’s thinking described the Angels’ chances of acquiring a starter as “below average and diminishing” as of Thursday. Rosenthal reports the Angels – who he says are also still in the mix for the Brewers’ Zack Greinke — are not the only team still interested in Shields despite his recent slump. He also lists the Rangers, Braves, Dodgers and Cardinals as potential suitors.
* Though the Rockies currently sit in last place in the National League West, don’t expect them to be major sellers at the trade deadline reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Heyman reports that Colorado wants to keep both Michael Cuddyer and reliever Matt Belisle, though the Rockies could be willing to part with Marco Scutaro, Jason Giambi, Rafael Betancourt, Matt Reynolds and Jonathan Herrera.
* The Dodgers have already landed Hanley Ramirez and remain in talks for the Cubs’ Ryan Dempster — and they’re still interested in more, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Knobler writes that the Dodgers have expressed interest in acquiring either Justin Morneau or Josh Willingham of the Twins, though the Twins have said it’s unlikely they part with Willingham. It’s also possible that a potential Dempster deal could expand to include either Alfonso Soriano or Bryan LaHair.
- Paul Casella
Though Cliff Lee has notched just one win so far this season, the Phillies still consider the lefty an integral part of their future and do not plan to trade Lee ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
According to Heyman’s report, trading Lee would somewhat negate the recent signing of Cole Hamels to his six-year deal. This week’s sweep of the Brewers and the club’s 8-3 record in its last 11 games are also likely contributing factors to keeping Lee.
General manager Ruben Amaro seemed to confirm the notion that Lee will be staying put through the season with his comments Friday.
“I may have, but that is what the plan is right now,” Amaro said when asked if he had said this week that he plans to keep the rotation together through the season. “Plans can change, but that’s what the plan is right now.”
The southpaw’s contract would present a bit of an obstacle on the market, as well, considering it guarantees around $97 million through 2015, not to mention he has 21 teams on his no-trade list. Texas, one of the eight clubs not on that list, has scouted Lee, but appears more interested in landing Zack Greinke, Josh Johnson or James Shields.