Results tagged ‘ Victor Martinez ’

Tigers: Werth rumors were “paper talk”

The Tigers were rumored among the most serious suitors for Jayson Werth,
who just signed a seven-year, $126 million deal with the Nationals. But
team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said their interest
didn’t go very far.

“The majority, and just short of all of that,
was strictly paper talk,” Dombrowski said. “We never had any serious
conversations on Jayson Werth. Not one. And the reality of it is, when
we prioritized our players, we had Victor Martinez up there, that we
pursued. And just preliminary conversations, very preliminary, where
they talk in generalities, the dollar numbers and years were just not
appealing to us.

“That’s why sometimes you move quickly in other
directions to do things. For us, it just made more sense to move in the
direction that we did.”

Agent Scott Boras, who represents Werth, said Sunday he talked quite a bit with the Tigers last week. But Boras obviously represents many more players, including fellow free-agent outfielder Magglio Ordonez, on whom the Tigers have been talking, and fellow ex-Tiger Zach Miner.

There was no sense from the Tigers that any deal with Magglio was close, nor was there a sense that it was a foregone conclusion.

Tigers might not be done shopping

The Tigers found the hitter who can protect Miguel Cabrera in the lineup
with their Victor Martinez signing. But just because Martinez can fill
the job, doesn’t mean that he will.

Jim Leyland said Friday afternoon that he’s up in the air whether to bat
Martinez third or fifth. The reason for the indecisiveness is that the
offseason moves are potentially incomplete.

“It depends on what our team looks like by the time we get to Spring
Training,” Leyland said by phone. “He’s either going to hit right in
front of [Cabrera] or right behind him.”

Asked if the fact that Martinez is a switch-hitter will play into the decision, Leyland came up with the line of the day.

“No, the fact that he’s a great hitter,” Leyland said.

Dave Dombrowski didn’t give a firm answer either way when asked if they
have the wiggle room for one more signing — which pretty much should mean
they have room. If they knew they were up against it on payroll, there
would be no reason to play coy. Whether they have the realistic potential to
compete on another big free agent, such as Carl Crawford or Jayson
Werth, is another question. So is the potential for bringing back
Magglio Ordonez, which Dombrowski didn’t want to address Friday.

He did indicate that the one area where they have the opening for an addition is in the corner outfield.

“We’ve actually made four signings this wintertime, so I think what
we’ll probably do next week is sit back [and analyze],” Dombrowski said.

– Jason Beck

Roundup: Tigers snatch V-Mart from Red Sox

The arbitration deadline was expected to rule the day, but
it wound up being the Tigers that made the big splash. In a rather surprising
turn of events in this offseason, coveted free-agent catcher Victor Martinez
said no to the Red Sox and wound up agreeing to a four-year,
$50 million contract
with the Tigers.

The agreement, which a baseball source confirmed to MLB.com, is probably still pending a
physical and should be completed shortly.
At that point, the Tigers would officially be able to add Martinez to a middle
of the lineup that includes fellow Venezuelan Miguel Cabrera.

Here’s more from around the league Tuesday …

* After a bounce-back year that saw him make $3 million, Aubrey Huff inked
a two-year contract reportedly worth $22 million with the Giants. The
deal also includes a club option for 2013.

* Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers told MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert that
of all the clubs expressing interest in outfielder Justin Upton, only
“two or three” teams
have the players to make a deal work. Towers
says he seeks Major League-ready players in return, not just prospects.

* The Yankees prefer to give standout free-agent closer Mariano Rivera
just a one-year deal worth upwards of $18 million, according to Yahoo! Sports.
But Rivera, 41 next week, seeks two guaranteed years at that rate.  

* As for the Yankees’ other aging pitcher, Andy Pettitte is leaning towards a return to the Bronx, according to the Twitter account of Newsday’s Kevin Davidoff.

* And as for the free-agent pitcher the Yankees hope to land, an industry source told Yahoo! Sports on Monday that New York offered Cliff Lee a six-year contract worth nearly $140 million. But Lee seeks a seventh year.

* Jarrod Washburn, the 36-year-old left-hander who sat out all of last season, “continues to generate interest as a free agent,” according to Yahoo! Sports. The Brewers are believed to be one of the teams that have contacted his agent.

* Arbitration Day is in full swing. So far, Jayson Werth, Adam Dunn, Adrian Beltre and Paul Konerko have been among the ranked free agents being offered arbitration, while Derek Jeter, Mike Lowell, Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon have been among those who have not. The deadline is 11:59 p.m. ET.

– Alden Gonzalez 

What arbitration deadline day means to Red Sox

Tomorrow is the first built-in deadline of the off-season. By midnight
— as Tuesday turns into Wednesday — all clubs must decide whether or
not to offer their six-year free agents arbitration.

If you
don’t offer a free agent arbitration, you lose any right to get draft
compensation for that free agent should he sign elsewhere.

This
is why it is a guarantee that the Sox will offer arbitration to Type A
free agents Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre. They will get two picks
for Martinez and two for Beltre should they find new homes. Both Beltre
and Martinez have a week to decide if they want to accept arbitration.
Neither player will accept because if they did, it would guarantee they
had to stay with the Red Sox and take them off the free agent market,
thus taking away all their leverage. The Type A free agent who would
accept an arbitration offer if he got one is someone coming off a bad
year. Manny Ramirez is a perfect example. The Red Sox took a gamble and offered Jason Varitek
arbitration in 2008 and were very lucky that Varitek declined.
Otherwise, they would have paid him twice what he wound up getting.

The Sox have two Type B free agents this year — Jason Varitek
and Felipe Lopez. It’s doubtful the Sox will offer arbitration to
Varitek because that would guarantee him a salary of somewhere around
$3 million. As a backup, he probably isn’t going to get that on the
open market. Most people believe that the only reason the Sox signed
Lopez late in the season after the Cardinals released him was because
of the potential for compensation. The Red Sox would get one pick in
the sandwich round — between the first and second round — if someone
signs Lopez. However, with Lopez coming off such a poor year, it could
be a gamble because he might actually accept arbitration. Under that
scenario, the Sox could avoid paying the bulk of his salary by
releasing him late in Spring Training. They could also try to trade him.

Marlins pursuing John Buck to fill catching void

The Marlins are in need of catching this winter, and they’ll be able to pick from a pretty deep pool of backstops in the open market if they choose to go that route. Based on reports, the catcher they covet most appears to be John Buck.

AOL FanHouse’s Ed Price tweeted Tuesday that the word from other clubs is that the Marlins are “working hard” to sign Buck. FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, meanwhile, stated that while Florida still isn’t particularly close on Buck, the club is “definitely interested.”

Buck made $2 million with the Blue Jays last season but is coming off a career year, one that saw him set all-time highs with a .281 batting average, .314 on-base percentage, 20 home runs and 66 RBIs. The 30-year-old also threw out 28 percent of would-be base-stealers in his seventh season, which ranked seventh among Major League catchers who qualified.

The Marlins began last season with a Ronny Paulino-John Baker platoon behind the plate. But Baker is coming off Tommy John surgery and won’t be ready for the start of the season, and Paulino was handed a 50-game suspension last year that he still hasn’t completely served.

Besides Buck, the Marlins have a few other free-agent catchers to choose from, like A.J. Pierzynski, Rod Barajas, Gerald Laird and Bengie Molina (Victor Martinez would likely be outside their price range). 

– Alden Gonzalez

Yankees could be in the market for a catcher

NEW YORK — You can never really rule out any free agent with the Yankees, so even though Jorge Posada is coming back mostly as a designated hitter next year to pave the way for a youngster like Jesus Montero, New York could still pursue a safety net in the open market.

General manager Brian Cashman volunteered that on Thursday, saying he “wouldn’t even close the door on looking out in the marketplace to see if I can secure somebody else out there as a cushion.”

Posada, 39 and coming off knee surgery, will spend most of, if not all of his time at DH in 2011, so it’ll come down to prospects Montero and Austin Romine, as well as backup Francisco Cervelli. Free-agent catching options include A.J. Pierzynski, Rod Barajas, John Buck, Gerald Laird, Matt Treanor and a host of others (you can probably rule the top prize, Victor Martinez, out of the equation, though). 

“We’re certainly not handing a job to anybody,” Cashman said. “We have some serious young, good catching coming. They have to earn it, though. They have to earn it for the next level. No one’s going to be handing anything to anybody.”

Alden Gonzalez

Buck could be Plan B for Red Sox behind the plate

In case the Red Sox can’t resign Victor Martinez — and they’ll certainly give that a concerted effort — one potential option is free-agent catcher John Buck. And according to ESPNBoston.com, the Red Sox are “expected to be aggressive in their pursuit” of Buck if Martinez isn’t a possibility.

The Web site named the Tigers, Orioles and Rangers as teams that would go after Martinez. The free-agent pool of catchers is actually pretty deep this year, with Rod Barajas, Ramon Hernandez, Gerald Laird and A.J. Pierzynski among those also in the mix.

If Boston can’t resign Martinez, Jason Varitek would of course have a strong chance of returning also. And there are some who believe perhaps Jarrod Saltalamacchia should be given an opportunity to take the full-time reigns behind the plate. But Buck would be the safer — though more expensive — choice.

After signing a $2 million contract with the Blue Jays last offseason, Buck had a breakout year in 2010, one that saw him set career-highs in batting average (.281), home runs (20) and RBIs (66) while throwing out 28 percent of baserunners (third-highest among AL catchers who qualified).

Alden Gonzalez

Red Sox have “genuine” interest in Duchscherer

A source close to the situation confirmed to MLB.com on Tuesday that the Red Sox have “genuine” interest in free-agent right-hander Justin Duchscherer. 

Duchscherer has experience out of the bullpen and as a starter, but he’s only looking to land on a club where he can start — though it’s hard to see where that lies on a Red Sox team that already has Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Clay Buchholz and Tim Wakefield.

It’s still very early in the process, and a free agent like Duchscherer is likely to let the market play out to see where he can be given the best opportunity in Spring Training. But a baseball source said the Red Sox’s interest is “as genuine as it can be two days into free agency.”

Duchscherer, 33 on Nov. 19, has proven he can pitch effectively when healthy, but that hasn’t been the case lately. The last time was in his first season as a starter in 2008, when he went 10-8 with a 2.54 ERA in 22 starts for Oakland.

He then missed all of ’09 while undergoing elbow surgery and being treated for depression. Then, last year — after signing a one-year, $2 million incentive-laden deal to re-up with the A’s — he went 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA in five starts before undergoing season-ending hip surgery.

Duchscherer, drafted by the Red Sox in 1996 before being traded to the Rangers for Doug Mirabelli in 2001, is currently long-tossing from 140 feet. He expects to throw some bullpen sessions before shutting it down for the holidays, and he doesn’t expect to go into Spring Training with any ailments.

Regarding the Red Sox’s own free agents, The Boston Globe wrote Tuesday that six teams — including the Red Sox — have expressed interest in Victor Martinez. 

– Alden Gonzalez

Roundup: Twins reportedly make offer for Lee

The Twins, according to the Twitter account of AOL FanHouse’s Jeff Fletcher, have offered Minor League outfielder Aaron Hicks and Minor League catcher Wilson Ramos in exchange for Cliff Lee. Hicks and Ramos were ranked by Baseball America as the No. 1 and No. 2 prospects in the Twins’ system, respectively, heading into the season. No deal is imminent, however, according to FOXSports.com and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. But the revealing of names means things may be progressing. 

Lee, who has a 2.34 ERA, a 0.945 WHIP and a 14.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio, is also drawing interest from the Reds, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The newspaper reported that the Reds and Mariners talked about Lee when the Reds were in Seattle a couple of weeks ago. The Mariners want an impact bat for Lee, and Reds prospect Yonder Alonso could provide that in exchange, but Seattle is probably looking for more, the Enquirer wrote. Alonso is currently blocked by Joey Votto
The Twins and Reds, of course, are not the only ones who’d be interested in adding a top-flight left-handed starter with big-game experience and a rather affordable pro-rated price tag. According to SI.com — which said talks between the Twins and Mariners for Lee are “interesting” and “have possibilities” — close to 15 teams are believed to be looking towards adding Lee. 
Here’s more from around the league … 
* Peter Gammons of MLB Network and MLB.com wrote via Twitter on Tuesday that “rumblings” around St. Petersburg had B.J. Upton going to Seattle in exchange for Lee — perhaps as part of a three-team deal. Whether or not that materializes, the Rays may be willing to trade their right-handed-hitting center fielder regardless. The Red Sox, Giants, Braves and several other teams could be a fit. 
* The Orioles and Buck Showalter have had “continuing conversations” regarding the managerial vacancy, which means the two sides may be closing in on an agreement, according to ESPN.com. FOXSports.com wrote Friday night that the O’s are “zeroing in” on Showalter. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli heard through a source that the O’s are interested in adding Showalter, and Eric Wedge is believed to be the other leading candidate. 
* The 10-5 rights of Mark Buehrle have kicked in, meaning the White Sox left-hander essentially has a full no-trade clause now, according to MLBTradeRumors.com. Ten-year veterans who have been with an organization for five years earn the right to veto a trade, even if they don’t have a no-trade clause in their contract. 
* The Red Sox have not approached Victor Martinez about an extension, according to The Boston Globe. Martinez, currently on the disabled list, is a free agent after this season but has said he’d like to stay in Boston. 
– Alden Gonzalez
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