Results tagged ‘ Rangers ’

Report: Choo talks reaching ‘critical stage’

Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, perhaps the top outfielder remaining on the free-agent market, might not be available much longer. On the first night of the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and MLB Network tweeted that talks involving Choo “appear to be reaching [a] critical stage.”

Although several clubs could be bidding, Rosenthal identifies the Rangers and D-backs as two that are heavily involved. Texas has been rumored to be interested in Choo throughout the offseason, while Arizona has been more under the radar.

However, our Anthony Castrovince tweets that the D-backs are “a strong suitor,” partly because the 31-year-old has a home in Buckeye, Ari., just outside of Phoenix.

– Andrew Simon

12/4 Roundup

After Tuesday’s explosion of deals, the Hot Stove returned to a light simmer on Wednesday, but there still was plenty of news.

One of the most significant topics was the posting system that governs how Japanese players get from Nippon Professional Baseball to the Major Leagues. The two sides have been working on a new agreement throughout the offseason, which has been holding up the bidding for one of the winter’s hottest commodities, pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.

However, a deal appears to be near, with Japanese media outlet Sanspo reporting Wednesday that the NPB is expected to accept a proposal limiting posting fees to $20 million. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports later added that if multiple teams submit the maximum bid, the player then could negotiate with all of those clubs.

Elsewhere on the international front, our Jesse Sanchez writes about the next wave of Cuban players set to follow recent signings such as Jose Abreu and Alexander Guerrero to the Majors. One of those players, slick-fielding 23-year-old shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena, will audition for teams at a showcase this weekend at the Yankees’ facility in the Dominican Republic, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Martino writes that the Mets will be among those teams with scouts in attendance.

In other news from around the league:

  • In the wake of the Yankees signing Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann to contracts totalling $238 million, our Bryan Hoch looks at whether free agent Robinson Cano is still a fit in the Bronx. If Cano doesn’t return, the Yankees have an insurance policy in Kelly Johnson, with Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and MLB Network reporting that the two sides have agreed on a one-year deal for about $3 million.
  • One other team rumored to be pursuing Cano is the Mariners, but general manager Jack Zduriencik wouldn’t confirm that interest.
  • Seattle also is among the teams that could enter the fray to acquire Rays ace left-hander David Price. That market soon will intensify, according to Passan, who names the Mariners, Dodgers, Angels, Pirates, Rangers, D-backs and Blue Jays as likely contenders. While Tampa Bay doesn’t need to trade Price, doing so now probably would earn it the best possible return, given that Price has two seasons left before free agency. Several baseball officials who talked to Passan named the Mariners as a frontrunner to land Price, perhaps by offering a package headlined by highly touted pitching prospect Taijuan Walker.
  • Max Scherzer is another Cy Young Award winner who has been the subject of trade rumors this offseason, but Detroit could be ready to pursue a contract extension instead. Our Jason Beck also addresses whether the Tigers could make a run at free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.
  • With Ellsbury gone, our Ian Browne discusses what the Red Sox will do to fill his spot in center field next season.
  • The Mets are “deep in talks” with free-agent outfielder Curtis Granderson, reports our Anthony DiComo.
  • Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija has been discussed as a trade target this offseason, but Theo Epstein said the right-hander likely will be in the team’s Opening Day rotation, with a long-term deal a possibility.
  • The Cubs also agreed to a one-year deal with left-handed reliever Wesley Wright, who was non-tendered by the Rays on Monday.
  • Paul Konerko has decided to return to the White Sox for one more season, filling a part-time role in his 16th year with the club. He will make $1.5 million, plus $1 million deferred until 2021.
  • The Rockies are getting close to a two-year deal with free-agent first baseman Justin Morneau, who is expected to platoon with the right-handed Wilin Rosario. Morneau likely will get $12.5 million, plus a mutual option for 2016.
  • The Reds might not be as likely to trade second baseman Brandon Phillips as was reported earlier in the offseason, especially in light of comments general manager Walt Jocketty made on Wednesday.
  • With A.J. Pierzynski among the catchers who have gone off the board recently, the Rangers continue to look for a backup to pair with Geovany Soto. Kurt Suzuki is one candidate.

– Andrew Simon

FOX Sports: Tigers close to signing Nathan

The most active team this winter appears to be at it again. 

Ken Rosenthal tweeted that he and colleague Jon Morosi have learned the Tigers are close to a deal with free agent closer Joe Nathan

Detroit on Monday traded starting pitcher Doug Fister to the Nationals, and has already acquired Ian Kinsler this winter for Prince Fielder. Clearly, trading away two big pieces has freed up some salary space to sign Nathan. 

The 39-year-old Nathan, who was an All-Star with the Rangers the last two seasons, has 341 career saves. 

– Joey Nowak

12/3 Could Cubs bid for Tanaka?

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Yankees and Dodgers are expected to be the most aggressive in pursuit of Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka when the posting system is finalized. Major League officials and the Japanese league are still working on details.

Sherman said executives from two clubs expect the Cubs to be in the mix as well, with one saying they will be “really aggressive.” Sherman notes that the Cubs have several impact position players (Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora) but not enough pitching.

Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer have been involved in the posting process for Japanese players before. They were with the Red Sox when they gave $51.1 million posting fee to land Daisuke Matsuzaka. If the Yankees, Dodgers, Rangers and Red Sox are in pursuit of Tanaka, it will be expensive.

The posting fees are still to be resolved. According to Sherman, MLB officials have been trying to lower the fees transferred from their teams to Japanese teams as part of the process to gain negotiating rights. The Rangers paid the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters $51.7 million posting fee to get Yu Darvish, then signed him to a six-year, $60 million contract.

MLB has a current proposal that involves a limit of $20 million, Sherman writes.

Why is Tanaka so highly regarded? Tanaka, 25, was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 28 regular season games with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, that’s why.

– Carrie Muskat

12/2 afternoon roundup

The Hot Stove was buzzing Monday morning and afternoon, as a handful of deals went down.

The headliner was left-hander Scott Kazmir agreeing to a two-year deal with the A’s.

 

Kazmir, who turns 30 in January, finished the season 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA and 162 strikeouts in 158 innings for the Indians, who took a chance on the former first-round Draft pick via a Minor League deal shortly after the lefty finished a stint with the Sugar Land Skeeters in independent ball.

Before this year, Kazmir had last pitched in a Major League game in April 2011.

Other notes from Monday:

  • The Blue Jays and veteran catcher Dioner Navarro agreed to a two-year contract believed to be worth $8 million.
  • The Yankees sent catcher Chris Stewart to the Pirates for a player to be named later, which frees a roster space for the Yankees.
  • New York also officially announced a two-year contract with infielder Brendan Ryan reportedly worth $5 million with a mutual option for 2016. 
  • The Tigers agreed to a one-year, $1-million deal with infielder/outfielder Don Kelly.
  • The Rays, interested in a left-handed hitting first baseman, have talked with the Rangers about Mitch Moreland.
  • The Yankees have made an offer to right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, according to ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand. The Yanks offered Kuroda a qualifying offer ($14.1 million), which he turned down.

 

- Cash Kruth

 

11/26 Afternoon roundup: Mets, Rockies, Mariners and more

Rumors surfaced on Tuesday that said the Mets had recently inquired about Brewers slugger Ryan Braun. Though the Mets insist that “inquiry” was nothing more than a four-word exchange at the General Manager Meetings earlier this month, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the team remains in the market for a power-hitting corner outfielder.

With Braun seemingly not a viable option, the Mets are putting their focus on the likes of Curtis Granderson and Nelson Cruz, among others. Cruz is reportedly seeking a four-year, $75 million deal after missing the final 50 games of the 2013 regular season while serving a 50-game PED-related suspension for his connection to the Biogenesis scandal. Cardinals Jhonny Peralta, who served the same suspension for his Biogenesis connections, recently netted a $53 million deal with the Cardinals.

A number of other rumors were circulating Tuesday, including:

  • The Rockies reportedly asked the Angels about slugger Mark Trumbo, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Though considering Colorado’s main trade piece is center fielder Dexter Fowler and the Angels are in the market for pitching help, the Rockies seem more likely to reach a deal with the Royals. Colorado has already missed out in its pursuit of Jose Abreu, Brian McCann and Carlos Ruiz, but the Rockies would still like to add a power hitter and bullpen help — and that’s where the Royals come in. The Royals are reportedly willing to move relievers Aaron Crow and Tim Collins, as well as right-hander Wade Davis, who the Rockies tried to acquire from Tampa Bay last offseason before the Rays shipped him to Kansas City.
  • Despite the Rangers’ recent acquisition of Prince Fielder, the club is still considering keeping Mitch Moreland, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. Texas is said to be tossing around the idea of using Moreland, who made all 129 of his starts this past season at first base, at multiple positions — including designated hitter, first base and the outfield — against right-handed pitching.
  • After going back-and-forth on the Mariners’ supposed interest in first baseman Mike Napoli, Rosenthal is reporting that the Mariners are indeed interested in the free agent slugger. It remains up in the air just how serious of a push Seattle will make for Napoli, but the Mariners are said to also be interested, on various levels, in a number of other marquee free agents, including Cruz, Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo.

11/25 Roundup

The Rangers officially introduced Prince Fielder on Monday, five days after acquiring the slugging first baseman from the Tigers for Ian Kinsler.

The move likely doesn’t signify the end of the club’s offseason maneuvering, however. Our T.R. Sullivan writes that while the Rangers are not expected to go after free-agent second baseman Robinson Cano, they are looking to add another impact bat to their lineup, either at the top or in the middle.

One of those available big bats belongs to free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. Speaking of Choo, our Mark Sheldon explores the question of whether the Reds could bring him back to Cincinnati, meeting his significant contract demands.

In other news from around the league:

  • Veteran right-handed pitcher Dan Haren officially came off the board on Monday, when the Dodgers announced his one-year contract.
  • After adding a center fielder (Peter Bourjos) and a shortstop (Jhonny Peralta) over the past week, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak didn’t close the door on his offseason shuffling but added that, “if the clock stopped today, we’d be pretty happy with our club.”
  • The Yankees’ signing of free-agent catcher Brian McCann signals the club’s aggressive intentions this offseason after falling short of the playoffs in 2013, writes MLB.com columnist Mike Bauman. Along those lines, a move for free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran could be on the way.
  • Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos addressed his team’s search for a starting pitcher, most notably the Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija.
  • Veteran righty A.J. Burnett hasn’t decided if he will pitch in 2014, but if he does, the market could push him out of the Pirates’ price range.
  • The Tigers and free-agent reliever Brian Wilson are in “serious” negotiations, a source has told The Detroit News. It appears that Wilson, and not Joe Nathan, is Detroit’s primary target to fill its closer role.
  • Elsewhere in the American League Central, The Kansas City Star reported that the Royals are open to dealing from their bullpen depth, especially righty Aaron Crow or lefty Tim Collins.
  • There were a few minor trades executed on Monday, with the Padres swinging a three-player deal with the Pirates and swapping pitchers with the Orioles, while the A’s picked up a left-hander from the Nationals. The Pirates also cleared 40-man roster space by designating first baseman-outfielder Garrett Jones for assignment.
  • Our Doug Miller looks at what’s left on the free-agent market in The Week Ahead.
  • The Marlins are looking into signing catcher Dioner Navarro and pitcher Phil Hughes, according to the Miami Herald.

– Andrew Simon

11/23 Roundup

The Yankees stole the Hot Stove headlines on Saturday, when they filled their void at catcher by agreeing to a five-year contract with free agent Brian McCann. In a deal first reported by The Dallas Morning News, New York committed to paying McCann $85 million, with a $15 million vesting option for 2019.

 The Yankees clearly needed more offense behind the plate, after their catchers combined for a .587 OPS last season. McCann comes in with seven All-Star appearances, five Silver Slugger Awards and a career .823 OPS.

In other news from around the league:

  • The Cardinals apparently have found their shortstop, with ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick breaking the news that St. Louis is close to an agreement with free agent Jhonny Peralta.
  • The Angels will bolster their bullpen by signing free-agent right-hander Joe Smith to a three-year contract worth roughly $15 million.
  • Free-agent right-hander Colby Lewis, who missed the 2013 season due to injury, re-signed with the Rangers on a one-year Minor League deal that includes an invitation to Major League camp. Lewis went 32-29 with a 3.93 ERA over 80 starts with Texas from 2010-12 but hasn’t pitched in the Majors since July of ‘12.
  • In his morning (Insider-only) column, ESPN’s Buster Olney said some executives, “see the Mariners as the great sleeping giant in baseball,” because of their potential financial clout, lack of long-term contract commitments outside of Felix Hernandez, and solid stable of young players. Olney wonders if the Mariners could go after top free agents Robinson Cano and Jacoby Ellsbury.
  • The Cubs have generated a lot of interest in right-hander Jeff Samardzija, with the Blue Jays one of those trying to pry him away, according to Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago and ESPN Radio 1000.
  • There was speculation on Friday that Cano was in Detroit to visit the Tigers. A deal between the two parties would seem to be a longshot considering the club just acquired Ian Kinsler, as FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted.
  • The market for free-agent closers is locked in a “staring contest,” tweets FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi.

– Andrew Simon

11/21 Roundup

The Royals made the biggest move of the day on Thursday, bolstering their starting rotation by signing free-agent left-hander Jason Vargas to a four-year, $32 million contract. Vargas, who will turn 31 in February, went 9-8 with a 4.02 ERA last season for the Angels, who now have another hole to fill on their staff.

Meanwhile, Wednesday night’s big trade between the Rangers and Tigers continued to hold the baseball world’s attention. The swap of Ian Kinsler and Prince Fielder could have far-reaching implications. Among them:

  • The trade gives the Tigers additional financial flexibility they could use to pursue contract extensions for Max Scherzer and/or Miguel Cabrera, writes our Jason Beck. There also is the issue of how Detroit will adjust defensively, with Cabrera likely shifting to first and opening up a spot at third that could be filled by top prospect Nick Castellanos.
  • The ripple effects from the deal could surface in Cincinnati, says our Mark Sheldon,  impacting the Reds’ potential plans to move second baseman Brandon Phillips.
  • Kinsler’s departure from Texas likely eliminates the possibility of the Rangers parting with Elvis Andrus. That gives the Cardinals one fewer option in their pursuit of a shortstop, as our Jenifer Langosch explains.

In other news from around the league on Thursday:

  • The Tigers moved quickly to their next order of business, re-signing lefty Phil Coke to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration.
  • The Giants have agreed to a deal to keep left-handed specialist Javier Lopez in San Francisco, with multiple reports indicating he will receive a three-year contract.
  • The Angels and Cardinals have discussed a swap that would send third baseman David Freese to Anaheim in exchange for an outfielder, such as Peter Bourjos.
  • After adding Josh Johnson to their starting rotation, the Padres will return their focus to acquiring a left-handed hitter, tweets our Corey Brock.
  • Our Adam McCalvy writes that the Brewers aren’t likely to trade Ryan Braun but could move him from left field to right.
  • Ike Davis tells our Anthony DiComo that while he would like to stay with the Mets, he understands that there is a significant chance the club could deal him this offseason.
  • Lance Berkman’s agent told Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that his client is leaning toward retirement. The 15-year veteran, who turns 38 in February, posted a .700 OPS for the Rangers last season, and injuries have limited him to 105 games over the past two years.
  • The agent for free-agent catcher Brian McCann told Alex Speier of Boston’s WEEI that his client is willing to spend some time at first base and designated hitter with a new team.
  • The Rays are working toward a two-year deal to retain the services of catcher Jose Molina, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
  • The Dodgers and Giants have free-agent right-hander Dan Haren among their targets as they look to add pitching, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and MLB Network.
  • Although outfielder Curtis Granderson became a free agent when he rejected the Yankees’ qualifying offer, the club remains interested in bringing him back, reports the New York Post.

– Andrew Simon

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

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