Results tagged ‘ Rangers ’

Fujikawa meets with Angels, among others

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.

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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

Interest piling up for Torii Hunter

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.”

 – Alden Gonzalez

7/31 Dempster to Rangers

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

7/31 Soto to Rangers

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

July 27 news and notes: Rangers, Angels, Rockies, Dodgers

* 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

Phillies won’t trade Lee

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.

More Teams Interested in Shields

Earlier reports had the Rangers, Angels and Dodgers interested in James Shields.  Now, according to a report by Fox Sports, the Braves and Cardinals can be added to that mix.

While the idea of the Rays trading Shields when the team is just 2 1/2 games out of the Wild Card spot still seems remote, there are some interesting aspects to this year’s trade market.  The Rays have never felt any pressure to make moves due to deadlines such as the trade deadline and actually have taken the stance that players usually have better value in the off-season when more teams are interested.  But, if in fact there are as many teams interested in Shields as reported, the Rays might be able to get the deal that blows them away that could pry away Shields.

Shields’ recent numbers have not been good, but he is healthy and could help any team by the fact he eats up innings alone.  In addition, he is under control for another two years for reasonable sums.  So his attractiveness is understandable.

–Bill Chastain

July 19 Late Night Roundup

  • The Cubs’ Ryan Dempster is said to be attracting a lot of trade interest. The Dodgers are one team that has proposed a deal for the veteran right-handed pitcher, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. The Cubs would like to add young pitching in return. Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reported that the two clubs were “having somewhat constructive conversations” about a deal by Thursday but that the Tigers and Braves figure to be among the other teams vying for Dempster.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com tweeted that teams also are expressing interest in two other Cubs, infielder Jeff Baker and outfielder Reed Johnson, who could serve as right-handed bats off the bench.
  • Rosenthal and colleague Jon Morosi also reported that the Pirates, Red Sox and Tigers are among the clubs pursuing D-backs shortstop Stephen Drew. The Pirates are still after Arizona outfielder Justin Upton as well, according to Morosi.
  • The Tigers, Rangers and Pirates are a few of the teams that have asked the Rockies about second baseman Marco Scutaro, according to the Denver Post. With Colorado in last place in the NL West, the team also could deal relievers such as closer Rafael Betancourt, as well as catchers Ramon Hernandez and Wil Nieves.
  • Teams interested in outfielder Carlos Quentin and closer Huston Street of the Padres might end up disappointed. San Diego plans to sign both players to long-term deals before the trade deadline, reported Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
  • The Twins will look to acquire pitching in exchange for surging lefty Francisco Liriano, wrote Scott Miller of CBSSports.com. The Yankees, Mets, Angels, Braves, Blue Jays and Red Sox highlight the group looking into Liriano.

– Andrew Simon

July 18 Late Night Roundup

  • USA Today’s Bob Nightengale provided the splashiest rumor of the day, reporting that the Marlins had informed the Red Sox of their willingness to deal third baseman Hanley Ramirez and closer Heath Bell, in exchange for left fielder Carl Crawford and a prospect. But ESPN’s Buster Olney later shot down that idea, tweeting that the proposal “immediately died.”
  • According to our own Joe Frisaro, the Marlins are more likely to explore trading Ramirez during the offseason. Miami, scuffling below the .500 mark, still could look to move the likes of starting pitchers Anibal Sanchez and Josh Johnson or infielder Omar Infante below July 31.
  • Three different scenarios remain in play for Brewers ace Zack Greinke, Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal reported at FOXSports.com. The 28-year-old could walk away as a free agent after the season. He could sign a long-term contract to remain in Milwaukee, although the report stated there is “no evidence,” that a formal offer has been made. Greinke also could be traded before the deadline, although he will start only twice more before then, following an extended break.
  • Greinke, along with the Phillies’ Cole Hamels, is a prime deadline target for the Rangers, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Texas also could consider bringing back Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee.
  • Several teams have looked into acquiring third baseman Chase Headley or outfielder Carlos Quentin from the Padres, but San Diego’s asking price for both has been “exorbitant,” reported CBSSports.com’s Scott Miller. The club also might attempt to re-sign Quentin this winter.

– Andrew Simon

Big week for Angels & their search for a starter

The Angels want to add a starter. It’s more likely that they don’t have the chips to acquire a premium one, but they’re doing their due diligence anyway.

This week could be a big one with regards to that pursuit.

This is the week when the erratic Ervin Santana will make two tough starts (against the Tigers on Monday and against the Rangers on Saturday), this is the week more will be known about the health of Dan Haren (he’ll make a rehab outing today, and if all goes well, he could start against Texas on Sunday), and this may be the week that dictates how aggressive Jerry Dipoto is in his pursuit of another rotation arm.

We’re now 15 days away from the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. And the more time passes, the less likely it seems that the Angels can acquire a guy like Zack Greinke or Cole Hamels.

First, there’s the fact each of their teams would like to resign them. The Phillies, Paul Hagen writes, are entering a critical stage with Hamels. The Brewers, according to Adam McCalvy, pushed back the struggling Greinke to give him a blow (making him less appealing on the trade market and more likely to be retained, perhaps?).

Second, there’s the whole “assets” thing. The Angels don’t have a lot of that to give up. As one executive said, if they’re going up against the Rangers for a starter (T.R. Sullivan says Roy Oswalt’s effectiveness could determine how aggressive they get) it would be “like taking a butter knife to a gunfight.” The only heavy artillery the Angels carry is Peter Bourjos, the high-upside center fielder who’s without an everyday role but is a big part of their long-term plans. Dipoto has continued to stress that the Angels will not trade Bourjos, but things can certainly change. The only way I see them giving him up is if it’s for a starting pitcher they can resign — not one who’s going to walk away in two months and leave them with nothing.

And that brings me to the third reason — the new CBA. The extra Wild Card has put more teams in the race for the playoffs, making less of them sellers in July. But a bigger reason for a possibly slow market could be that the only players who bring back Draft pick compensation upon signing with another club are those who spent the previous full season with the same team. For example, if a team trades for Hamels and he signs elsewhere, that team gets no additional Draft picks in 2013. If he stays with the Phillies and he signs elsewhere, the Phils do get the compensation. One scout said the trade market so far is “extra quiet” and “not much is happening” yet. No surprise there.

Of course, there are other, more-attainable starters out there (Wandy Rodriguez and Ryan Dempster come to mind). Will the Angels go outside of themselves to add another front-line guy?

It may depend on how this week goes.

– Alden Gonzalez

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