Results tagged ‘ Rays ’
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
Although the General Managers Meetings in Orlando, Fla., finished on Wednesday, the baseball world remained plenty busy on Thursday.
The Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera’ and the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen were named the American and National League Most Valuable Players, respectively. The owners gave unanimous approval for funding an expanded instant replay system at their quarterly meeting, another key step on the way toward implementing it for the 2014 season. And Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball’s chief operating officer, revealed that MLB and Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball have hit a snag in their negotiations over the posting-fee system, casting doubt on whether highly touted right-hander Masahiro Tanaka will become available to MLB teams this offseason.
Even with the meetings over, rumors continued to circulate, with Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reporting that free-agent right-hander Ricky Nolasco already has received multiple four-year offers, in the neighborhood of $52-60 million. In other news from around the league:
- With rumors flying about whether the Rays will trade ace left-hander David Price, our Bill Chastain examines the pros and cons of such a deal, which would be nothing new for the Rays. The club previously has gotten strong returns for pitchers Matt Garza and James Shields.
- Jake Peavy’s championship-winning stay in Boston could be short-lived, with our Phil Rogers writing that the Red Sox could look to deal the veteran right-hander. He speculates that the Angels could be one of several clubs to have interest in Peavy.
- Speaking of players leaving Boston, ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes reports that shortstop Stephen Drew will not return to the Red Sox, who aren’t likely to match other teams’ multiyear offers.
- Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos might have his work cut out for him as he tries to improve his club while staying within Toronto’s budget this offseason.
- The Orioles might be considering trading catcher Matt Wieters and closer Jim Johnson, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and MLB Network.
- Derek Jeter said he feels healthy and is “100 percent” sure he will be the Yankees’ everyday shortstop this season.
- Our Rhett Bollinger addresses some Twins issues, including Joe Mauer’s move to first base and the club’s interest in A.J. Pierzynski.
- The Royals believe they need to add only one starting pitcher this offseason, writes Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star. That could mean re-signing Ervin Santana or replacing him.
- The Rangers agreed to a one-year contract with versatile infielder Adam Rosales, who was eligible for arbitration.
- Free-agent outfielder and Houston native Chris Young tells our Brian McTaggart that he would like to play for the Astros.
- The Marlins are looking to build around their young core, including Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez, rather than continuing to deal away pieces. On the other hand, Rosenthal tweeted that Miami is listening to offers for first baseman Logan Morrison.
- Veteran right-hander Alfredo Aceves “appears to be a good possibility” to sign with the Mets, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney.
- Free-agent catcher Carlos Ruiz has been drawing plenty of interest this offseason, but our Todd Zolecki says he still could be a fit in Philadelphia.
- The Brewers have a hole to fill at first base, and while they could look to sign a free agent like James Loney or Justin Morneau or trade for someone like the Mets’ Ike Davis, another appealing option is to bring back Corey Hart. The veteran missed all of last season while recovering from knee surgery and is a free agent.
- Speedy Reds prospect Billy Hamilton is playing winter ball in Puerto Rico and could get a chance to be the club’s center fielder if free agent Shin-Soo Choo signs elsewhere.
- Dodgers club president Stan Kasten isn’t ruling out anything but said he doesn’t expect to make any splashy moves this offseason that would add significantly to the team’s already large payroll.
- As the Rockies seek a replacement for retired first baseman Todd Helton, sources have told The Denver Post’s Troy Renck that they are interested in free agents Mike Napoli and James Loney.
– Andrew Simon
Multiple outlets have reported that there’s been significant interest in Mets first baseman Ike Davis, with CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman saying the Astros, Orioles, Rays, Brewers and Rockies are among the suitors.
The Mets also have Josh Satin and Lucas Duda to play first base, so they figure to be likely to move one of them this winter. But ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin says the team could wait until later in the offseason to make a trade, when the market prompts more teams to look into deals.
– Joey Nowak
Former Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee will interview for the same position on the staff of new Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon.
The Yankees may be trying to stay under the luxury tax threshold in 2014, but the word in the lobby at the General Managers Meetings is that it hasn’t stopped them from looking at the upper tier of available free agents. Sources say they appear to have made switch-hitting outfielder Carlos Beltran, who turned down a qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Monday, a top priority.
If the Rays decide to trade David Price, look for the Dodgers to make a strong move. Sources say the Rays had scouts looking hard at the Dodgers farm system late in the season.
– Paul Hagen
In August 2009, the Angels acquired Scott Kazmir from the Rays in a four-player trade.
In July 2012, Peter Bourjos was so close to being dealt to the Rays — presumably for James Shields, but that part is unconfirmed — that they basically had his uniform ready in St. Petersburg.
This offseason, perhaps the two can come together again — this time for ace pitcher David Price.
The two haven’t been linked heavily in trade talks — yet — but it’s a pairing that would seem to make sense for both sides. The Rays are believed throughout the industry to be shopping Price this winter. It’s the kind of thing they’d do. The starting-pitching market is thin, which would maximize Price’s value; the 28-year-old left-hander is projected to make about $13 million in his second year of arbitration; and Tampa Bay has a gluttony of young, cost-controlled starting pitching, which could free the front office up to trade Price for the offense that may finally balance out their roster.
Meet the Angels. They’ll spend all offseason looking for pitching via the trade market and are more than willing to dangle offensive pieces to get it. Price only comes with two years of control, which doesn’t exactly meet the profile of cost-controlled arms that Jerry Dipoto specifically targets. But here’s the thing: The Angels don’t just have to improve the rotation. They have to get a lot better. Their staff ranked 11th in the American League in ERA last year, Jered Weaver basically loses a tick or two off his fastball every season, C.J. Wilson can drive you nuts every five days, Garrett Richards is still developing and Jason Vargas (if resigned) is 64th in ERA over the last four years.
This rotation looks a whole lot better if you slide Price at the top and move everyone down a spot.
Heck, it may rival some of the best in the league.
Will it happen? Maybe; most likely not, given how difficult it is to pull off trades this big. But it’s an interesting one to think about at this point. (Even a little fun, no?) Who would the Angels have to give up to get Price, you ask? One guy the Rays may really want — perhaps even demand — is Richards, and I can see that being the difference between real dialogue taking place or this being nothing more than a pipe dream. Besides Richards, Mark Trumbo — who you’d hate to lose, but would probably be willing to give up if it means getting someone this good — is probably a guy who would go to Tampa Bay, since he’d be a perfect fit in the middle of their lineup and first baseman James Loney is now a free agent. Maybe Bourjos gets thrown in there again, perhaps second baseman Howie Kendrick — born and raised in nearby Jacksonville — gets added to the mix, maybe some prospects, maybe all of them.
Two things are certain …
- The Angels would face a whole lot of competition, especially if Japanese sensation Masahiro Tanaka isn’t posted. And the Rays will seek a significant return since they don’t really have to trade Price this offseason.
- The Angels may have to take on money, since a big reason the Rays would do it in the first place is to free up some payroll flexibility. (I estimate that the Angels have something in the neighborhood of $15 million of wiggle room for 2014. Parting ways with Trumbo saves about $6 million for next season, while Kendrick saves about $9 million and Bourjos saves about $1.5 million.)
More on the Angels’ offseason search for pitching here.
– Alden Gonzalez
The Hot Stove was focused on new managers on Sunday, with the Tigers making their choice official, and the Mariners and Cubs continuing to search. Notes on those situations, plus other tidbits from the offseason, are below.
- The Tigers introduced Brad Ausmus as their new manager on Sunday, with the longtime Major League catcher stepping into a pressure-packed spot at the helm of the reigning American League Central champions.
- The Mariners, still looking to fill their managerial opening, now have brought back three candidates for a second interview, as general manager Jack Zduriencik tries to find a replacement for Eric Wedge.
- Meanwhile, Wedge is one of the candidates known to have interviewed for the only other available manager position. The Cubs are expected to reveal their choice sometime this week.
- It appears that teams hoping to add a big bat to the middle of their lineups this offseason can cross one option off their list. Marlins general manager Dan Jennings said on Sunday that slugger Giancarlo Stanton “is not available” in trade talks and will open the 2014 season as the Marlins’ right fielder.
- Masahiro Tanaka earned the save as the Rakuten Golden Eagles beat the Yomiuri Giants in Game 7 of the Japan Series on Sunday. With that series over, Rakuten is expected to post the 25-year-old right-hander, which would make him one of the top arms available this offseason.
- The Rays picked up their $6.5 million team option on David DeJesus and are trying to work out a multi-year deal with the veteran outfielder, whom they acquired on July 23. The club still must decide whether to exercise its option on reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo.
- The Giants aren’t going to pick up right-hander Ryan Vogelsong’s $6.5 million option, but the sides are discussing a new deal for a lower guaranteed salary, according to a report from CSN Bay Area.
– Andrew Simon
With the deadline for exercising or declining options looming at 5 p.m. ET on Monday, teams continued to make those decisions on Saturday. Below is a recap of those moves, plus news on the Mariners’ managerial search and more.
- The Rays will bring back their same middle infield in 2014 after picking up options on second baseman Ben Zobrist and shortstop Yunel Escobar. However, they still must decide whether to do the same for outfielder David DeJesus and reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo.
- The Red Sox declined a team option on reliever Matt Thornton, while two of the team’s free agents — first baseman Mike Napoli and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia — would like to return. In other news, second baseman Dustin Pedroia soon will undergo surgery on his left thumb after playing the whole season with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament.
- Joey Cora is among a handful of finalists to become the Mariners’ new manager.
- Roger McDowell will return as pitching coach of the Braves after signing a new two-year deal.
- As expected, the Giants declined their option on pitcher Barry Zito, according to the MLB Players Association. Zito becomes a free agent after completing his seven-year contract with San Francisco, which also declined an option on outfielder Andres Torres.
- Also per the MLBPA, the Orioles declined their option on lefty Tsuyoshi Wada, who underwent Tommy John surgery after signing a two-year deal before the 2012 season and never appeared in a game for Baltimore.
– Andrew Simon
The Rays have exercised their 2014 club options on shortstop Yunel Escobar and utility man Ben Zobrist.
Escobar played in a career-high 153 games this year, leading all Major League shortstops with a club-record and career-best .989 fielding percentage, and was a Gold Glove finalist. He hit .256 with nine homers, 56 RBIs and a career-high 27 doubles. He also hit .467 (7-for-15) in his first career postseason this year.
Zobrist, named to his second All-Star Team this year, is the longest-tenured member of the Rays. He started at four different positions this season and is one of six players in the Majors to appear in 150-plus games in each of the past five seasons, and the first Ray.
The team also holds club options on outfielder David DeJesus and right-handed reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo. They must decide on DeJesus’ option by midnight Sunday and Oviedo’s by midnight Monday.
– Joey Nowak
The acquisition of Josh Hamilton was, in many ways, a two-for-one signing because it also allows general manager Jerry Dipoto to trade a suddenly-expendable player for another starting pitcher.
Question is: Can the Angels take on more payroll in the process?
Hamilton’s five-year, $125 million contract will pay him $17 million in 2013 ($15 million in salary, plus a $10 million signing bonus that’s dispersed evenly over the course of his five-year contract). That, in addition to arbitration projections and minimum contracts, puts the Angels’ 2013 payroll at roughly $159 million, which is about where they finished at last year.
Asked about expanding it further in case of adding a pricey arm, Angels president John Carpino basically said it would be considered on a case-by-case basis.
“Instead of putting [the payroll] at a place where it’s, ‘This is where we’re at,’ it’s, ‘What’s the opportunity cost of doing it?'” Carpino said at Hamilton’s Saturday news conference. “So, if something became available that’s an opportunity cost, it just comes down to wanting to win. But it also has to make sense fiscally.”
Teams are a lot more willing to give up a would-be free agent than a cost-controlled arm, of course.
That’s why, with R.A. Dickey off the board, names like Ricky Nolasco of the Marlins ($11.5 million in his walk year), Gavin Floyd of the White Sox ($9.5 million in his walk year) and Matt Garza of the Cubs (projected $10 million in his final arbitration year) seem to be the most feasible. Rick Porcello of the Tigers (projected $4.7 million in his second arbitration year) has also been mentioned.
Peter Bourjos, who’s still a year away from arbitration and will make about $500,000 in 2013, appeals to many teams. Kendrys Morales, Vernon Wells and — seemingly to a lesser extent — Mark Trumbo can also be made available.
The Angels’ preference would be to acquire a young, pre-arbitration starter who won’t add to the budget (Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore of the Rays comes to mind). But whether or not that situation presents itself remains to be seen.
– Alden Gonzalez
As Hot Stove season cranks up, one of the hottest names in the rumor mill is D-backs outfielder Justin Upton. But according to our own Steve Gilbert, Arizona GM Kevin Towers said on Thursday he is “in no rush” to deal the talented 25-year-old, who is coming off a down year.
While Towers is having discussions about Upton at the General Manager Meetings in Indian Wells, Calif., they are still preliminary and figure to take time, if they go through at all. The D-backs are looking for Major League-ready players, rather than prospects, in exchange for Upton, a two-time All-Star who is signed through 2015.
In other news:
- The Dodgers, looking to go the free agency route for help in their starting rotation, have Hiroki Kuroda and Anibal Sanchez at the top of their list, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
- Sources have told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that Sanchez’s agent is asking teams for a contract in the $90 million range over six years. Besides the Dodgers, the teams interested include the Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Rangers.
- The Mets continue to talk to third baseman David Wright and pitcher R.A. Dickey about contract extensions, our own Anthony DiComo reports. But New York also is looking into trading Dickey, a leading Cy Young Award contender, according to Heyman.
- There is a possibility the Rays could trade two starting pitchers this offseason, but it’s more likely the club will deal only one, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. David Price and James Shields are among the candidates to go.
– Andrew Simon