Results tagged ‘ Royals ’

Angels lose Jason Vargas to Royals …

The Angels’ hopes of resigning free-agent starting pitcher Jason Vargas were squashed on Thursday, when the Royals announced they have signed the veteran left-hander to a four-year contract.

The average annual value of Vargas’ new deal, a reported $32 million, is $8 million. The Angels were willing to give him that much, but they weren’t willing to go four years (it would’ve been hard for them to even give him a third year).

And so, the Angels still have at least two holes to fill in their rotation.

Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Garrett Richards are returning, Tommy Hanson is likely to get non-tendered in December and Joe Blanton — if not released this offseason — will not go into the season as a guaranteed member of the rotation. General manager Jerry Dipoto did not tender the $14.1 million qualifying offer to Vargas because he was almost certain Vargas would accept it, and by accepting it the Angels would already be dangerously close to the luxury tax threshold of $189 million.

Vargas was acquired in a one-for-one deal with the Mariners that sent Kendrys Morales to Seattle last December. In his first year in Southern California, where he grew up and briefly attended Long Beach State University, Vargas went 9-8 with a 4.02 ERA in 150 innings in a season that saw him miss two months with a blood clot.

The Angels are expected to use the trade market to bolster a rotation that ranked 11th in the American League in ERA last season, but they may also turn to other free agents to fill Vargas’ void. And while they aren’t expected to go after the likes of Ubaldo Jimenez, Ricky Nolasco or Ervin Santana, names like Phil Hughes, Dan Haren, Bronson Arroyo, etc., etc., could be enticing.

Alden Gonzalez

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

11/14 Roundup

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:

AL East

  • 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.

AL Central

  • 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.

AL West

  • 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.

NL East

  • 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.

NL Central

  • 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.

NL West

  • 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

How would Carlos Beltran look in purple pinstripes?

Open-market musings:

How would Carlos Beltran look in right field for the Rockies?

The club is weighing various options in free agency, with a big bat being one of the priorities. While trads are an option, the Rockies are more likely to go the free agency route. That’s what they did two years ago when they signed Michael Cuddyer, who paid off for them by winning the National League batting title this year.

Don’t be surprised if the Rockies don’t at least seriously consider making a run at Beltran, who made his first World Series appearance this year while with the Cardinals. He’ll be 37 to start next season, but was quite productive in 2013 — .296, .339 OPB, .491 SLG. Those aren’t far from the numbers over his career. With a team that includes Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki and Cuddyer, it could be a fit. He could come in at two years and $30 million, as the MLB Trade Rumors Web site predicts. The Rockies had interest in him in the past.

Of course, there are many was for the Rockies to spend their money on a slugger, who can fit in at either first base or right field with Cuddyer playing the other position. Nelson Cruz, who is expected to turn down the Rangers’ qualifying offer and test the market, Justin Morneau, Marlon Byrd, James Loney (.338, nine home runs, 54 RBIs, .957 OPS in 55 games at Coors Field) and Corey Hart also could fit the bill. Brian McCann can catch and play first base, but at the top of his earning value in terms of money and years it’s doubtful the Rockies will be a serious competitor for his services.

The Rockies will attempt to bring in a pitching leader, and are expected to inquire about Tim Hudson — despite the fact the Braves, Royals, Indians and and Red Sox have already identified themselves as contenders — and Josh Johnson. The price figures to be high for Ricky Nolasco or Ervin Santana, as SI.com and others report, but the Rockies need a stalwart and can’t be counted out in those sweepstakes. Matt Garza, who could score big in free agency, and Jason Vargas also could be possibilities.

Also, add the name of righty reliever Jesse Crain to the list of publicly identified free-agency targets. The Denver Post has identified Brian Wilson, Grant Balfour, Joe Smith and Jose Veras as bullpen possibilities. ESPNNewYork.com reported the club is looking at LaTroy Hawkins.

The Rockies are also pursuing free-agent catcher Carlos Ruiz, although the Phillies are making a push to keep him. If the Rockies sign him, the intriguing situation is what becomes of catcher Wilin Rosario, a slugger who doesn’t have Ruiz’s experience or ability defensively.

– Thomas Harding

Santana reportedly gazing at $100 million

Pitcher Ervin Santana’s foray into the free agent world might be way out of the galaxy for the Royals.

According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Santana is seeking a five-year deal at $100 million. That obviously doesn’t mesh with Royals general manager Dayton Moore’s statement that he’s not likely to give older players a rich, long-term contract.

If nothing else, the Royals will get a compensatory round Draft choice if Santana signs elsewhere because they made him a qualifying one-year offer of $14.1 million. That’s a long way from five years and a hundred mil.

–Dick Kaegel.

Royals exercise option on Shields

In a pretty unsurprising move, the Royals kicked off their offseason on Thursday by exercising the club option on starting pitcher James Shields. According to MLB.com’s Dick Kaegel, the option was originally worth $12 million, but contract escalators are believed to have increased it to $13.5 million for next year.

The news comes the same day Shields was honored with the 2013 Joe Burke Special Achievement Award from the Kansas City Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.  That honors an “unsung hero or a player that the writers feel deserved recognition for an outstanding season.”

Shields was traded to the Royals last winter and helped Kansas City keep pace in the contentious AL Wild Card race this year as the ace of the pitching staff.  He went 13-9 with a 3.15 ERA in an AL-best 228 2/3 innings.

He also led the league in quality starts (27), tied for the AL lead in games started (34) and was seventh in strikeouts (196).

– Joey Nowak

 

Report: Astros’ Maxwell traded to Royals

The Astros have traded outfielder Justin Maxwell to the Royals, according to a Tweet by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Maxwell was hitting .241 with two homers and four home runs in 40 games, but missed two months of the season with a fractured hand. The 29-year-old outfielder led the Astros with 18 home runs last year after being acquired off waivers from the Nationals.

– Brian McTaggart

Angels fielding lots of phone calls …

The Angels — 14 games out of first place and eight games below .500 — have been fielding a lot of phone calls in the last couple of days, with a multitude of teams gauging their interest in parting ways with some of their position players. One person familiar with the team’s thinking said Tuesday afternoon that the chances they strike a deal before Wednesday’s 1 p.m. PT non-waiver Trade Deadline are “better than 50/50.”

“Vultures appear to be circling,” the source said.

Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar appear to be the most likely to be traded, given how solid they’ve been on both sides of the field and the team-friendly extensions they signed last year. The Royals — with Chris Getz, Elliot Johnson and Miguel Tejada — are looking for a second baseman with offense and would be willing to include veteran starter Bruce Chen or Luke Hochevar, who’s been effective out of the bullpen but hasn’t started all year, in a deal. They also have two top guys in the Minors in Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura, but Royals reporter Dick Kaegel doesn’t believe they’ll be included in a deal.

And according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, the Royals are one of the 12 teams Kendrick could block a trade to this season.

Aybar, however, has no such no-trade protection in his contract. And if Jhonny Peralta gets suspended as part of the Biogenesis investigation, perhaps they get interested. So far, though, they’ve shown no signs of being on the lookout for a shortstop, per Tigers reporter Jason Beck.

So, we’ll see. There can be a lot of surprises this time of year, especially in the final hours. But there’s definitely incentive for the Angels to wait until the offseason to swap a position player for cost-controlled starting pitching. More teams can get involved, and plenty more time permits.

Early on Monday, the Angels traded veteran lefty reliever Scott Downs to the Braves in exchange for Minor League reliever Cory Rasmus.

– Alden Gonzalez

Royals’ interest in R.A. Dickey reported

Could the Royals be in the hunt for the National League Cy Young Award winner?

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes that the Royals have discussed knuckleballer R.A. Dickey with the Mets as they continue efforts to upgrade the rotation. They’ve already traded for Ervin Santana from the Angels and re-signed Jeremy Guthrie.

Dickey is 38 but has a 2013 contract for $5 million that would be affordable for the Royals. But it’d loom as a one-year deal because Dickey would be a free agent in 2014.

There’s that 20-6 record, that 2.73 ERA and those 230 strikeouts to consider, however. For his part, Dickey has said he wants to remain with the Mets.

Earlier, the Royals have been reported interested in James Shields of the Rays and Jon Lester of the Red Sox.

– Dick Kaegel.

Dipoto: Bourjos not being dangled

Pretty much since he took the job over the offseason, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto has viciously tried to fend off rumors that the club considers center fielder Peter Bourjos — currently without an everyday role — a trade chip.

That took place again on Wednesday, in the midst of a couple of reports — from Jon Heyman and Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com — saying that Bourjos is available for the right deal. Dipoto publicly denied that once again, saying: “At no point have we offered Peter Bourjos for anyone, starter or reliever.”

The Angels are indeed looking for pitching, for the bullpen and rotation, and they’ve been linked to a bevy of player, like Francisco Liriano, Jonathan Broxton and, of course, Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels. But you can probably throw out 50 other names that the Angels have considered, tabled, had talks about and sent advanced scouts to watch. The Angels have been looking to upgrade the bullpen — particularly with another left-hander — for a while now.

As for starting pitching? The health of Dan Haren could go a long way in deciding how aggressive they get in that pursuit — and, perhaps, whether Bourjos is in fact dealt.

Here’s what Dipoto said when asked about how important the next week, with Haren returning and Ervin Santana making a couple of tough starts, is to their starting-pitching pursuit …

“We just want to get [Haren] back 100 percent healthy to compete. And we feel, and I’ve been very forthright with that, that he’s the best addition we can make. We anticipate that that’s the case. And in Ervin’s case, it’s not as simple as just determining where he is in the next two starts. Ervin’s got a history of being a better second-half performer than first. It’s the way it looks from last year. I’m just looking at his track record, what he does. And we’re not two starts away from kicking Ervin Santana out the door. Ervin’s going to be in our rotation. The Ervin component is not going to have any effect on what we do at all.”

The Royals had a scout at Comerica Park on Tuesday, and word is Kansas City is interested in designated hitter Kendrys Morales — despite the presence of Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler.

“We have nothing significant or imminent at this time,” Dipoto said. “Like everybody is, we’re just doing our due diligence.”

Alden Gonzalez

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