Results tagged ‘ Red Sox ’

12/22 Roundup

The free-agent market lost one of its biggest names on Saturday, when outfielder Shin-Soo Choo agreed to a seven-year, $130 million contract with the Rangers.

As the list of unsigned impact players continues to shrink, the big question hanging over the Hot Stove is whether Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will join the fray. The highly touted right-hander’s Nippon Professional Baseball club, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, has yet to decide whether to make him available via NPB’s recently revised posting system with Major League Baseball.

But the situation appears to nearing a resolution, with Baseball America’s Ben Badler reporting that the Eagles are expected to inform Tanaka of their decision by Wednesday.

In other news from around the league on a quiet Sunday:

  • Former A’s closer Grant Balfour saw his two-year, $15 million deal with the Orioles fall through after issues arose with his physical, but as many as four teams — including the Rays — appear to have interest in the veteran righty.
  • Former All-Star left-hander Mark Mulder, who is making a comeback attempt, has worked out for the Giants, Padres, D-backs, Angels and Phillies, according to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Mulder last pitched in the Majors in 2008 but is working with a new delivery after injuries derailed his career.
  • Cafardo also writes that free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew seems likely to return to the Red Sox, due in large part to a lack of other strong fits.
  • Agent Scott Boras is trying to get the Mets interested in two of his remaining free agents, Drew and slugger Kendrys Morales, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. However, Crasnick says Drew’s price could be too high for New York, which doesn’t appear to have much interest in Morales.

– Andrew Simon

12/18 Roundup

Wednesday marked another busy day on the Hot Stove, especially out West where the Rockies made a pair of deals as they continue to try to improve on back-to-back last-place finishes in the National League West.

Colorado on Wednesday landed outfielder Drew Stubbs in a trade with the Indians in exchange for left-handed pitcher Josh Outman. The Rox also acquired lefty Franklin Morales and right-handed reliever prospect Chris Martin from the Red Sox in exchange for infielder Jonathan Herrera.

While it was clearly a busy day for the Rockies, plenty of other teams either made, or are on the verge of making, moves of their own.

Here’s a look at some of Wednesday’s other news and notes from around the league:

  • The Angels are reportedly closing in on a one-year deal with veteran Raul Ibanez. The 41-year-old designated hitter connected for 29 home runs and 65 RBIs for the Mariners last season. The Halos are also believed to be interested in Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, if he is made available, as well as free-agent righty Matt Garza.
  • The Padres seemingly ended their search for a late-innings reliever, reportedly signing veteran Joaquin Benoit to a two-year deal. The deal is worth $15.5 million, including a $1.5 million buyout for 2016.
  • The Braves gave manager Fredi Gonzalez some added flexibility with his lineup, acquiring catcher Ryan Doumit in a trade with the Twins for Minor League pitcher Sean Gilmartin. Doumit provides the Braves with a third catcher alongside Evan Gattis and Gerald Laird, as well as another option at first base or either corner-outfield position. Doumit could also provide some pop off the bench in a pinch-hitting role.
  • Infielder Eric Chavez will reportedly return to the D-backs on a one-year contract. Chavez, who hit .281 with an .810 OPS after signing on as a free agent last season, will give the D-backs a left-handed bat off the bench, as well as a veteran backup to Paul Goldschmidt and Martin Prado at first base and third base, respectively.
  • Houston continued its busy offseason, acquiring first baseman and outfielder Jesus Guzman in a trade with the Padres for infielder Ryan Jackson. Guzman will be given the chance to play first base for the Astros, while also providing manager Bo Porter with another outfield option. Jackson had been claimed off waivers from the Cardinals less than a month ago.
  • The Mariners are reportedly showing continued interest in free agent Ervin Santana, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. With David Price apparently out of Seattle’s reach at this point, the club seems to be focusing its efforts on Santana for the time being.

    The Mariners also added to their outfield depth by re-signing oft-injured outfielder Franklin Gutierrez to a one-year deal.

– Paul Casella

12/13 Roundup

Baseball’s Winter Meetings ended on Thursday, but that doesn’t mean the Hot Stove came to a halt on Friday.

Even with general managers, agents and media members gone from Lake Buena Vista, Fla., the action continued, and the free-agent market continued to grow thinner. A pair of players reportedly agreed to new contracts, with first baseman James Loney set to return to the Rays on a three-year deal and second baseman Omar Infante heading to Kansas City on a four-year agreement.

In other news from around the league:

  • The Yankees introduced new center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, making his seven-year, $153 million contract official.
  • Former Yankee Robinson Cano saw two pieces of lineup protection added to his new club, as the Mariners held an introductory press conference for Corey Hart and Logan Morrison. Those additions do not signal the end of Seattle’s offseason shopping, however.
  • The Rockies finalized their two-year agreement with first baseman Justin Morneau and also have reportedly signed lefty reliever Boone Logan to a three-year pact.
  • The Red Sox made their two-year deal with Mike Napoli official. Teammate David Ortiz, whose contract with  the Red Sox expires after the 2014 season, is looking for a one-year extension.
  • The Pirates announced a pair of one-year contracts, re-signing shortstop Clint Barmes and adding right-hander Edinson Volquez.
  • The Tigers announced their one-year agreement with reliever Joba Chamberlain.
  • Our Paul Hagen runs down the top names still available after the Winter Meetings.
  • With free-agent options dwindling, the Brewers could turn to the trade market to fill their need for a first baseman, our Adam McCalvy writes.
  • Might the Braves really trade stud closer Craig Kimbrel? Our Mark Bowman tackles that question in his latest inbox article.
  • Outfielder Jason Kubel, coming off a rough 2012 with the D-backs and Indians, is returning to the Twins after signing a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.
  • The D-backs signed right-hander Daniel Hudson and catcher Henry Blanco to Minor League deals with Spring Training invites. Hudson, who hasn’t pitched since early ‘12 due to injury, was non-tendered earlier this month.
  • The Marlins continue to have interest in free-agent third baseman Juan Uribe, writes our Joe Frisaro.

– Andrew Simon

12/7 Roundup

With Friday’s flurry of big moves in the rearview mirror and the baseball world gearing up for the start of the Winter Meetings on Monday, the Hot Stove took a bit of a break on Saturday.

Here is a look at the latest news from around the league:

  • The Yankees reached official agreements with two free agents, announcing their seven-year contract with outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, as well as re-signing starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda for one year.
  • After reportedly agreeing to a three-year deal with Carlos Beltran on Friday, the Yankees could be open to dealing from their outfield depth and are “receiving significant interest” in Brett Gardner, according to Andy McCullough of The Star Ledger.

  • Elsewhere in the American League East, the Red Sox announced their two-year deal with reliever Edward Mujica. Boston general manager Ben Cherington said that while he will continue to look for upgrades, the Sox likely are finished with their “heavy lifting.” On the other hand, Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp is “in play” for the Red Sox, according to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.

  • Dodgers GM Ned Colletti confirmed that he is open to trading an outfielder, since the club has Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig.

  • Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who could be in line for a contract extension this offseason, played a little joke via social media.

  • Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and MLB Network lists the Dodgers, D-backs, Rangers and Mariners as the teams in the best position to make a trade for Rays ace left-hander David Price at the Winter Meetings. Among the other players Rosenthal believes could be moved this week in Orlando, Fla., are A’s starting pitcher Brett Anderson, Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick, Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija and Orioles catcher Matt Wieters.

  • The Astros bolstered their bullpen by bringing in right-hander Chad Qualls on a two-year deal.

  • During a question-and-answer session with fans at the second day of Redsfest, Cincinnati GM Walt Jocketty said it will be “very difficult” to re-sign free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and also downplayed trade rumors about second baseman Brandon Phillips.

  • With Beltran heading to the Yankees, the Royals will have to look elsewhere to add an impact bat this offseason. Another club that lost out on Beltran, the D-backs, could target the Angels’ Mark Trumbo instead, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

  • The Marlins could be looking to looking to trade for Rays utility man Sean Rodriguez as they aim to find a solution at third base. Our Joe Frisaro also explains why the Marlins are likely to trade first baseman-outfielder Logan Morrison.

  • The Orioles added an outfielder, signing Francisco Peguero, who had been designated for assignment and then non-tendered by the Giants. Peguero had been MLB.com’s No. 98 overall prospect going into last season.

– Andrew Simon

Report: Red Sox bolster bullpen, sign Mujica

The Red Sox are signing reliever Edward Mujica to a two-year, $9.5 million deal, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan has reported.

The 29-year-old emerged as the Cardinals closer last season, with a 2.78 ERA and 37 saves before Trevor Rosenthal took over late in the year as Mujica struggled.

Passan reports the deal is pending a physical, which is taking place today. 

– Joey Nowak 

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

Hart gets full medical clearance, ready for offers

With baseball’s hot stove at a full boil and the Winter Meetings a week away, free agent first baseman/outfielder Corey Hart finally got the good news on Tuesday that he had eagerly been anticipating. 

“Cleared!” Hart wrote in a text message to MLB.com, indicating he had been medically cleared for full baseball activities by the surgeon who performed the second of Hart’s two knee surgeries this year. 

Hart, 31, is a free agent for the first time after sitting out the entire 2013 season, having undergone right knee surgery in January and then left knee surgery in July. He had been rehabbing in recent weeks by running and participating in agility drills, but Hart’s formal foray into the open market was on hold while he awaited final medical clearance from Dr. Neal ElAttrache. The two met Tuesday in Los Angeles. 

With his medical clearance in hand, Hart is ready to begin fielding offers from interested clubs. He said last month that a number of teams, including the Brewers, Rays, Red Sox and Rockies, had called to check in, but clubs were not willing to discuss contract parameters until Hart was fully functional. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, Hart had yet to receive any offers. Asked this week whether Hart would have an offer in hand from the Brewers before the start of next week’s Winter Meetings, Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin said, “There’s a possibility he will.” 

Another potential suitor may have fallen off the board Tuesday, just as Hart was sharing his good news. The Rockies were reportedly moving toward a two-year deal with another first baseman, Justin Morneau.

– Adam McCalvy

 

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

Red Sox acquire reliever Badenhop from Brewers

The Red Sox added a piece to their bullpen on Friday, acquiring right-handed reliever Burke Badenhop from the Brewers for Minor League lefty Luis Ortega.

Badenhop posted a 3.47 ERA across 62 1/3 innings in his first season with the Brewers and has been tough on right-handed batters throughout his career. This year, he held them to a .229 average.

Brewers.com beat writer Adam McCalvy tweets that Milwaukee felt its middle-relief depth made the arbitration-eligible Badenhop expendable.

More info to come on MLB.com.

– Andrew Simon

A look at the Rockies’ plans with Hawkins and Brothers, plus notes on batting and pitching pursuits

The Rockies’ pursuit of veteran right-hander LaTroy Hawkins, which resulted in a one-year, $2.5 million guarantee that will become official once Hawkins passes a physical, can be seen in an odd way as a compliment to young lefty Rex Brothers, who served capably as closer when veteran Rafael Betancourt was injured.

Brothers, who turns 26 on Dec. 18, went 19-of-21 on save chances and finished with a 1.74 ERA last season. At times he struggled putting away hitters early in innings but he still struck out 76 (against 36 walks) in 67 1/3 innings. It certainly is a signal that he could become even more effective.

But before Betancourt went through a right groin strain, an appendectomy and finally a season-ending elbow injury, many of Betancourt’s save opportunities came partly because of Brothers’ effectiveness as a setup man. Brothers’ club-record 30-inning scoreless streak, which covered 32 games, ran from April 10 to June 27. Only the final nine games of the streak came while he was in the closer role.

As the season progressed, several games ended with Brothers not even taking the mound, because the middle relief and setup men pitched away the lead. It’s the old sabermetric argument: Why have the best option sitting in the bullpen while lesser pitchers blow it?

Hawkins ended up an effective closer for the Mets late last season. He earned all 12 of his saves and blew just one from Aug. 6 to season’s end. He struck out 18 against one walk and held opponents to a .222 batting average in those 23 appearances. At 41, he still throws hard enough and deceptively enough to be trusted with the final inning. The Rockies believe if he holds the closer job, it frees them to use Brothers when the game is tight before the ninth. And if plans change and Brothers at some point ends up the closer — which has been his plan his entire career — Hawkins gives them an attractive option in a setup role.

The Rockies still want to shore up the setup roles through free agency. Signing Hawkins as closer likely takes them out of the chase for Brian Wilson and Grant Balfour, who could be invited to pitch the ninth inning by another club. But a hard throwers such as Jesse Crain, Joe Smith or Jose Veras could further fill the Rockies’ needs.

The attempt to load up the back of the bullpen makes for intriguing competition and decisions when it comes to holdovers from last season. The club likes the 96 mph-plus fastball that righty Chad Bettis brought last season when used in relief, and will keep him there rather than revisit him in the rotation. They tested righty Adam Ottavino in late innings and there were some encouraging numbers, such as a 2.00 ERA at Coors Field. Righty Mitchell Boggs finished up with the Rockies after struggling mightily with the Cardinals when forced into the closer role, and the club is having internal discussions about returning him to a starter role. Boggs started 15 of his first 24 big-league appearances when breaking in with the Cards in 2008 and 2009.

The Rockies also continue to be in the market for starting pitching, although it’s unclear exactly where they’ll look. They’re often leery of accomplishment elsewhere because of the Mike Hampton-Denny Neagle experiment a few years back, but Tim Hudson profiled well. However, Hudson decided to take his passion and intensity to the NL West with the Giants.

Left-handed hitting outfielder-first baseman James Loney continues to be a prime candidate for the corner bat the Rockies seek. Corey Hart, coming off a knee injury, told a satellite radio audience on Tuesday that the Rockies, Red Sox and his former team, the Brewers, have checked in with him. Not much will be known until next month, when he is cleared for full activity. What isn’t clear is how strongly the Rockies are pursuing first baseman Mike Napoli, whose ability to make a pitcher work would fit nicely at first base. However, with his 2013 team, the World Series champion Red Sox, and others in the mix, the Rockies may drop out of the bidding the way they did with catcher Carlos Ruiz, who re-signed with the Phillies on Monday.

– Thomas Harding

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