Results tagged ‘ Red Sox ’

Angels may still be in play for bullpen help

Despite a lack of financial flexibility, the Angels continue to seek ways to address their bullpen situation.

Depending on his price, one option may be veteran closer Francisco Cordero. His agent, Bean Stringfellow, told WEEI.com on Tuesday that the Angels are one of four teams in play for the right-hander, along with the Reds — his former team, which reportedly wants him back — the Red Sox and a fourth, unidentified club.

Cordero is perhaps the best — and most expensive — free-agent reliever remaining after Ryan Madson, making the Angels the least likely fit among the above-mentioned clubs. Stringfellow told WEEI.com Cordero is looking for a multi-year deal and is only interested in going into a situation where he’s the clear-cut closer (which, in Anaheim, would mean the young Jordan Walden is supplanted).

The Angels have also reached out to the representative of former reliever Darren Oliver, a source familiar with his thinking told MLB.com. Oliver’s preference is to return to Texas, but is “not ruling out other contending teams,” the source said, adding that in order to accommodate the Angels, Oliver would be willing to defer most of his salary. Oliver put up a 2.29 ERA in 61 appearances last year, but is 41 and would give the Angels three lefties in the bullpen — along with Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi.

Another interesting candidate is Joel Zumaya, the former Tigers flame-thrower who missed all of 2011 after undergoing exploratory surgery on his right (throwing) elbow. Zumaya performed in front of what was believed to be about 50 scouts in Houston last Wednesday, and some of them were members of the Angels, general manager Jerry Dipoto confirmed. Someone in attendance told FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal he threw his fastball from 93-96 mph and had a decent curveball and OK command.

Some other, cheaper, right-handed options in the free-agent bin: Luis Ayala, Juan Cruz, Scott Linebrink, Dan Wheeler and Jamey Wright. Most of them, however, may not sign deals until more materializes later in the offseason. Sources told MLB.com the Angels have yet to reach out to Ayala or Wheeler in particular.

The Angels previously added LaTroy Hawkins – on a one-year, $3 million contract — in hopes of improving a bullpen that was tied for the American League lead in blown saves last season. Dipoto previously said he’s looking for someone to “complement Jordan Walden; not replace Jordan Walden.”

Alden Gonzalez 

Red Sox could make play for Andruw

The Yankees may have some company in trying to secure Andruw Jones for their bench. The New York Daily News reported Wednesday that the Red Sox are believed to have joined New York in pursuit of the 34-year-old outfielder.

Jones provided right-handed power for the Yankees last year, slugging 13 homers in limited playing time, with most of his 48 starts coming against left-handed hurlers. The Daily News noted that while J.D. Drew’s contract has expired in Boston, neither Ryan Kalish nor Josh Reddick have a great track record against left-handed pitching. 

- Bryan Hoch

Gio Gonzalez rumors continue to swirl

On Thursday, the list of suitors for Athletics starter Gio Gonzalez was deemed by FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal to essentially look like this: Mets, Mariners, Marlins, Red Sox, Reds, Rangers and Nationals. On Friday, a few more-specific rumors were thrown around regarding the 26-year-old left-hander.

CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman tweeted that the Mets wouldn’t include Jonathan Niese, Ike Davis, Matt Harvey, Jenrry Mejia or Jeurys Familia in a deal for Gonzalez, making it really hard to even fathom them in the race considering the A’s previous demands. Oakland, Heyman added, seeks a huge package for Gonzalez, who’s arbitration-eligible for the first time after combining to go 31-21 with a 3.17 ERA with 368 strikeouts and 183 walks the last two seasons.

The Tigers are only deemed to be on the “outskirts” for Gonzalez, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick, and the Yankees are unwilling to surrender top prospects Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, according to Heyman. MLB.com’s Bill Ladson reports that the Nationals are “all but out” on Gonzalez because of that asking price.

The Rangers, however, could be in play, considering they have top prospect Mike Olt and the A’s are looking for a future third baseman, notes FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi. However, as ESPN.com’s Buster Olney says, 20-year-old Rangers lefty Martin Perez would “almost have to be” included in a deal between the A’s and Rangers.

For now, the situation remains awfully fluid.

And it should gain a lot more steam once the Yu Darvish situation is settled.

– Alden Gonzalez 

Mets looking at Gio Gonzalez?

In a Twitter post early Friday morning, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Mets and Mariners have joined the Marlins, Reds, Red Sox and Rangers as clubs checking up on Oakland’s Gio Gonzalez.

From a New York perspective, that one is tough to figure. This is the first time all winter the Mets have been rumored to be looking into acquiring an established Major League player, as opposed to trading one away. As recently as last week, the Mets had discussed dealing their own young left-handed starter, Jon Niese, with a list of teams including the Angels and Yankees.

General manager Sandy Alderson has been adamant in saying that he is looking at trades to improve the Mets both for the future and for 2012. Gonzalez would certainly represent more of the latter than the former; though just 26 years old, he is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, meaning his salary is poised to skyrocket.

What’s more, Alderson stated publicly last week that the top-tier prospects in New York’s farm system — Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey et al — are the only untouchables in the organization outside of David Wright. Given that such prospects are presumably what Oakland would be seeking in a deal for Gonzalez, it is unclear what the Mets could offer in a swap.

–Anthony DiComo

Angels the frontrunners for C.J.?

That’s the word from late Monday night, where Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweeted that the Angels “have emerged as favorites for C.J. Wilson.” The Halos were reportedly meeting with Wilson’s agent late Monday night, Day 1 of the Winter Meetings from Dallas, and Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com said via Twitter that the Angels were making a “serious push” to sign him.

Earlier in the day, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that five teams were in on Wilson and one of them had made a six-year offer (though the identity of that team never really materialized). Wilson, a native of Newport Beach, Calif., had dinner with new Angels general manager Jerry DiPoto and long-time skipper Mike Scioscia in late November. DiPoto and Wilson’s agent, Bob Garber, also met during  the General Managers Meetings in Milwaukee.

Asked about paying Wilson something higher than the five-year, $85 million extension Jered Weaver signed in August, Dipoto said that thought would “certainly create some hesitancy.” As it usual is with negotiations like these, though, this is a very fluid situation. Wilson could be lured by the prospect of pitching close to where he grew up, and if they still want to improve their offense after the signing, the Angels could do so via the trade market.

The Nationals, Marlins, Red Sox and Rangers have also been said to have strong interest. According to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick, Texas plans to make its first offer to C.J. on Tuesday.

Alden

Low-cost pitching options abound for Angels

The question is how long they’re willing to wait out the likes of C.J. Wilson and Ryan Madson. As The Los Angeles Times pointed out on Monday — Day 1 of the Winter Meetings — new general manager Jerry DiPoto plans to meet with Wilson’s agent here in Dallas. Frankly, why wouldn’t he? The real question is whether it’s possible — or even practical — for the Angels to fork over most of their remaining payroll on one arm, to address the best aspect of the team no less.

If they don’t want to go that route, or commit to Madson — remember, the Phillies reportedly offered four years at $44 million — there are a few low-cost options to be had.

Starting pitcher-wise, Mark Buehrle is the logical fit. Problem: A lot of teams want him, and he’s said to be looking for a no-trade clause as part of at least a three-year deal. Some other lefties to keep in mind: Jeff Francis (4.82 ERA in 31 starts for the Royals last year), Erik Bedard (3.62 ERA in 24 starts for the Red Sox and Mariners) and Paul Maholm (3.66 ERA in 26 starts for the Pirates).

As for the right-handed bullpen arms, there are plenty from which to choose. The most intriguing may be Octavio Dotel, because of how well he pitched down the stretch for the World Series-champion Cardinals and because of his experience as both a setup man and closer. Dotel (38) shifted from a Type A free agent to a Type B under the new CBA, so he won’t cost the team that signs him a Draft pick.

Some others: LaTroy Hawkins, Francisco Cordero, Takahashi Saito, Frank Francisco, Mike MacDougal, Scott Linebrink and Luis Ayala, among a host of others.

– Alden Gonzalez

Cano: Big Papi ‘would be a good idea’

David Ortiz mentioned earlier this offseason that he had a lot of respect for the way the Yankees do business, and Robinson Cano is among those who believe that Big Papi could be a welcome fit in pinstripes.

“It would be a good idea, having another lefty on the team,” Cano told the New York Daily News on Friday, attending Ortiz’s golf tournament in the Dominican Republic. “We all know he’s a great hitter. Last year, a lot of people were saying, ‘He’s done.’ He proved a lot of people wrong. I like people, when they’re down, they prove people wrong. He came back, did a great job.”

Cano might have to convince general manager Brian Cashman, who has said repeatedly that he doesn’t see pursuing a big bat as a need. Pitching has been the Yankees’ main winter focus, as Cashman says that offense is not a need for New York, despite their outages in the playoffs. The DH role figures to be filled by 21-year-old Jesus Montero, who impressed in September duty.

- Bryan Hoch

Zumaya to throw for teams in mid-December

Former Tigers reliever turned free agent Joel Zumaya, who has battled injuries ever since his standout rookie season in 2006, will throw for teams in mid-December in a public workout as he tries to prove he’s ready to compete for a job in Spring Training.

Zumaya will throw a 30-pitch mound session on or around Dec. 14 in Houston, home base of his agents, Alan and Randy Hendricks. At least 10 teams have shown interest in taking a look, Zumaya told MLB.com in a phone interview Wednesday night. That supposedly includes the Red Sox, who expressed interest soon after Zumaya became a free agent at season’s end.

Zumaya has a standing offer from the Tigers for a minor-league contract with a non-roster invite to Spring Training. He could get the same from other teams, which would leave him trying to measure the best oppportunity, or he could get an incentive-laden Major League deal from a team willing to take a shot. Zumaya could be an intriguing option for teams looking for a low-risk, high-reward signing for a non-closing reliever.

When Zumaya is healthy, he’s an effective pitcher with a upper-90s to 100 mph fastball. However, he hasn’t pitched more than 31 games in a season since his standout rookie season in 2006. His last Major League pitch came at the end of June 2010, when he fractured his elbow throwing a pitch in a game at Minnesota. He missed all of 2011 after doctors had to repeat a procedure to insert a screw in his elbow to stabilize the joint.

– Jason Beck

Agent: Cespedes is ready for bigs

Once he declares residency in the Domnican Republic and becomes eligible for Major League free agency, Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes figures to be one of the most sought-out position players on the market.

Agent Adam Katz is confident that his client is ready to play in the Major Leagues this season.

“I’m not an evaluator, but I’m told by people who evaluate, he is [big league ready],” said Katz from baseball’s General Managers meetings.

Even Katz admitted it’s hard to know quite what the value will be for Cespedes.

“It’s really touchy feely,” Katz said. “He’s an unusual guy. He’s 26. He’s major league ready. People are going to be evaluate. A value will be established. People will bid competitively, and it will be what it will be.”

While Katz sees his client as a center fielder, he would be willing to play the corner positions, something that would help a team like the Boston Red Sox, who have a vacancy in right field.

The Red Sox will look at Cespedes later this week in the Dominican Republic. The Cubs are also scouting him this week. Several other teams have also expressed interest in Cespedes, who has become a bit of a sensation since the posting of a highlight video on Youtube.

“I’ve never seen anything quite like it since ‘Spinal Tap,’” Katz said. “At the end of the day, it was compelling. As quirky as it was, it ended up being very compelling.”

Ian Browne

Cuban Stars: Cespedes, others to hit free-agent market

The free-agent market will receive a boost when a large group of players from Cuba become eligible to sign with Major League clubs before the end of the year.

Outfielders Yoennis Cespedes, 26, and Jorge Soler, 19, along with right-handed pitcher Armando Rivero, 23, all participated in showcases last week in the Dominican Republic and highlight a list of Cuban players that could show up on big league rosters next season.

It’s uncertain when they will become free agents, because they are in the process of becoming eligible to play in the United States. What’s certain is that, for the third consecutive year, several players from Cuba are creating a buzz in the industry.

Cincinnati’s Aroldis Chapman is arguably the most recognizable name among the new crop of players from the island, and the Reds made a splash when they signed the hard-throwing left-hander to a six-year $30.25 million deal in January 2010. But Chapman is only a small part of a large group of the recently signed Cubans.

Three months after Chapman, infielder Adeiny Hechavarria signed a four-year, $10 million deal with the Blue Jays. Pitcher Yunesky Maya signed a four-year, $8 million deal with the Nationals that July.

Before the start of the 2009 season, Dayan Viciedo signed a four-year, $10 million deal with the White Sox, and shortstop Jose Iglesias signed a four-year, $8.25 million contract with the Red Sox near the end of the season.

Only Hechavarria, who finished last season at Triple-A for Toronto, has not appeared in the big leagues, but he appears on track to make his debut in 2012.

“The players are seeing the success their fellow countrymen are having, and they’re enticed to test themselves in this market,” said agent Bart Hernandez, who represents several Cuban players, including Martin, Hechavarria and Maya. “Players in Cuba are judging themselves right now and realizing they have comparable or equal skills to the guys signing, and they are deciding to take their chances.”

It’s too early to tell what type of contracts Cespedes, Soler and Rivero will command, but there’s no denying the interest by Major League clubs.

Cespedes, who is represented by agent Adam Katz, wowed scouts during his showcase in Santiago and is scheduled for a workout with the Marlins this week. According to Yahoo.com, Washington, Oakland, Cleveland, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and the New York Yankees had representatives at Cespedes’ showcase.

Boston, Texas and Toronto are also reportedly interested in the five-tool outfielder who many believe is Major League-ready. Cespedes played for Cuba during the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

As for Soler, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound corner outfielder, showed off his power and speed in front of several scouts in a separate showcase with Rivero at the Yankees’ complex in Boca Chica. Rivero, who is 6-foot-3, features a slider, split-finger fastball, sinker and changeup in his repertoire. He reached 98 mph with his fastball in the showcase.

Outfielders Henry Urrutia, 24, Gerald Sanchez, 26, and left-handed pitcher Omar Luis, 19, all from Cuba, also took part in the showcase in Boca Chica.

“The talent has always been in Cuba, but obviously the political climate had an impact on the number of players playing in the Major Leagues,” Hernandez said. “Most of the Latin players in the Major Leagues used to be Cuban and teams used to send their players to Cuba for Winter League. The history is there and I think you are starting to see the future.”

– Jesse Sanchez

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