MLB Rumors: The Loudest Trade Buzz, Free Agency Updates for Every Team

Ely SussmanCorrespondent INovember 5, 2012

MLB Rumors: The Loudest Trade Buzz, Free Agency Updates for Every Team

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    MLB rumors abound this offseason. The following updates on free agency and the trade market will summarize recent transactions and preview what's to come around the league.

    Many major-league teams have taken action already, while all 30 plan to do more before the winter passes.

    With raised voices coming from all directions, it's impossible to hear everything, but here's the loudest news and speculation.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Another surplus outfielder could go.

    This comes directly from CEO/team president Derrick Hall. He tells fans that more help is needed on the left side of the infield and that there's "an abundance of players" remaining in the Arizona Diamondbacks' outfield.

    The D-Backs traded Chris Young last month. A.J. Pollock or Justin Upton could be dealt next.

Atlanta Braves

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    Atlanta Braves make Michael Bourn $13.3 million qualifying offer.

    The coveted free agent is certain to decline, but at least the Braves will receive draft-pick compensation if he signs elsewhere. Bourn has until Nov. 9 to officially make his decision.

    Super-agent Scott Boras is attempting to negotiate an $100 million contract on his behalf, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.

Baltimore Orioles

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    Alexi Casilla claimed for second-base depth.

    Unsure of what Brian Roberts can provide at this point, the Baltimore Orioles added another fallback option. Casilla (.241/.282/.321 with 21 SB in 2012) joins Robert Andino, Ryan Flaherty and Omar Quintanilla on the 40-man roster.

    Dan Duquette, executive VP of baseball operations, values his "defensive capability" and baserunning (via Rich Dubroff, CSNBaltimore.com).

Boston Red Sox

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    David Ortiz gets his two-year deal.

    Big Papi seemed adamant entering this offseason about signing a multi-year contract.

    The Boston Red Sox met his demands with a $26 million guarantee that runs through 2014. Additional incentives could "boost the total value" to $30 million (via Zach Links, MLB Trade Rumors).

     

    Cody Ross looking for three.

    Ross hoped to re-sign with Boston during the exclusive negotiating period, as he tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that the team had "tons of opportunities" to make an offer.

    Now, his camp is controlling the contract talks. ESPN's Buster Olney reports his initial demands:

    In Cody Ross's talks with the Red Sox, his side was looking for something in the 3-year, $25 million range.

    — Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 6, 2012

    Philadelphia Phillies insider Jim Salisbury explains that the Red Sox are "still viewed around baseball as the favorite to lock him up." They have ample money to spend and a new manager in John Farrell who has already spoken with Ross.

Chicago Cubs

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    Chicago Cubs "in contact" with Ryan Dempster's agent.

    The team is eyeing veteran starting pitching as it aims to fill out the rotation. And who better to target than Dempster, who dominated Cubs opponents for the first half of 2012?

    Carrie Muskat of MLB.com tweets that the right-hander's representatives have been contacted.

     

    Team considered "a long shot" to sign Dan Haren.

    This past weekend, Chicago came very close to acquiring the right-hander via trade. Talks with the Los Angeles Angels broke down, however, and Haren entered free agency instead.

    Now that all MLB teams can negotiate with him, the Cubs will likely turn their attention to another starter, writes Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com.

Chicago White Sox

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    Brett Myers would be happy in any role.

    Feeling confident about the composition of their starting rotation, the Chicago White Sox declined his $10 million option.

    But there's still a chance of Myers re-signing as a late-inning reliever. He pitched 70 total games last summer with the White Sox and Houston Astros (3.31 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 19 SV).

    The 32-year-old tells Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com that he'll adjust to a team's needs.

Cincinnati Reds

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    GM Walt Jocketty hopes Ryan Ludwick settles for two years.

    No agreement is imminent between Jocketty and Ludwick's agent.

    The Cincinnati Reds don't want to offer more than two years (via Mark Sheldon, MLB.com), but the outfielder is in line for a better offer after slugging 26 home runs in 2012.

Cleveland Indians

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    Mike Aviles, Yan Gomes bolster Cleveland Indians infield.

    In exchange for Esmil Rogers, the team receives players capable of starting at shortstop and first base, respectively.

    Aviles is currently blocked by Asdrubal Cabrera, though ESPN's Buster Olney recommends that the Indians trade the incumbent for prospects (ESPN Insider access required).

    Gomes could be in the lineup often if the Indians let Casey Kotchman leave via free agency.

     

    Chances of Roberto Hernandez, Travis Hafner re-signing "slim" and "slimmer."

    MLB.com's Jordan Bastian uses those words after speaking with general manager Chris Antonetti:

    In conf call, Antonetti made it sound like there is slim chance of Hernandez re-signing, and slimmer chance of Hafner re-signing.

    — Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) October 31, 2012

    The Tribe signed Hernandez as an amateur free agent in December 2000 and acquired "Pronk" from the Texas Rangers two years later. Both had impressive moments in Cleveland, but continue to decline.

Colorado Rockies

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    Colorado Rockies trade son of former manager.

    The franchise tolerated Mark Tracy for parts of three seasons while his father guided the major-league team.

    But his .264/.310/.448 triple-slash line at the High-A level drew interest from the Chicago White Sox. Following Jim Tracy's resignation, there was nothing to block the transaction.

     

    Four finalists contending to replace him.

    Thomas Harding of MLB.com writes that Arizona Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams wants to be the new skipper. A source tells him Jason Giambi, Tom Runnells and Walt Weiss are also being seriously considered.

    The Rockies have not set a timetable for the official announcement.

Detroit Tigers

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    Jose Valverde, Delmon Young won't return.

    George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press confirms this expected news after a press conference with GM Dave Dombrowski.

    The Detroit Tigers plan to find internal replacements for both vacancies.

    Victor Martinez will reclaim the designated-hitter role as he heals from a torn ACL. Rookie Bruce Rondon is a serious closer candidate.

Houston Astros

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    GM will "reach out" to Lance Berkman.

    The Houston Astros won't contend in 2013, but they aren't eager to amass 100 losses again, either.

    General manager Jeff Luhnow tells MLB.com's Brian McTaggart that the club will approach Lance Berkman about a possible reunion. Luhnow suggests that he may see playing time as a designated hitter.

    Berkman explained his hatred for the American League to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, but admitted that it could extend his career.

    The veteran spent a decade in the heart of Houston's batting order and remains one of the franchise's all-time favorite players.

Kansas City Royals

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    Kansas City Royals bet on Ervin Santana to bounce back.

    Santana experienced a sharp regression in 2012 (9-13, 5.16 ERA, 39 HR allowed). His stock plummeted, so K.C. gets $1 million cash and only trades away minor-league reliever Brandon Sisk.

    The Royals believe he's close to returning to top-of-the-rotation form.

     

    ...And they will do more.

    GM Dayton Moore makes this promise to Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star:

    #Royals GM Dayton Moore says "we're not done" after acquiring Ervin Santana from Angels.

    — Bob Dutton (@Royals_Report) October 31, 2012

Los Angeles Angels

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    Vernon Wells to be used as fourth outfielder.

    The Los Angeles Angels expect to start Peter Bourjos, Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo, which leaves Wells as a $21 million-per-year reserve.

    "He is being shopped to anyone and everyone," reports Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe. Specifically, Cafardo writes that the Angels have interest in Boston's John Lackey and wouldn't mind swapping bad contracts.

     

    Dan Haren accepts $3.5 million buyout, enters free agency.

    L.A. failed to trade the right-hander. Rather than giving Haren the Ervin Santana treatment, they declined his team option.

    A return to the Halos remains possible (though very unlikely).

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Mark McGwire on verge of joining coaching staff.

    Last week, the Los Angeles Dodgers re-signed closer Brandon League and identified James Shields as their top target on the trade market.

    Lately, though, all eyes have focused on retired slugger Mark McGwire. He intends to leave his post as St. Louis Cardinals hitting coach and pursue the same opportunity in L.A., according to Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com (h/t Joe Strauss, St. Louis Post-Dispatch).

Miami Marlins

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    Free-agent class "doesn't seem very appealing" to Miami Marlins.

    A team source tells Sun-Sentinel columnist Mike Berardino that the Fish aren't eager to buy like they did last winter.

    Berardino believes the price tags of top free agents serve as deterrents.

     

    Kevin Kouzmanoff, Jordan Smith ink minor-league deals.

    However, Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel reports some activity:

    The #Marlins have signed 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff and RHP Jordan Smith to minor league contracts with invites to big league camp.

    — Juan C. Rodriguez (@JCRMarlinsbeat) November 3, 2012

    Kouzmanoff, 31, is the more prominent of the two. He's coming off a frustrating season in the Kansas City Royals' farm system (2 HR in 355 PA), but should have the opportunity to prove himself as an everyday third baseman. 

    The Marlins struggled to replace Hanley Ramirez's production following a midseason trade.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    Milwaukee Brewers won't pursue "big-ticket" free agents.

    GM Doug Melvin says his team can't afford Josh Hamilton (via Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Hitting coach Johnny Narron used to be the outfielder's accountability coach, but their relationship isn't likely to convince Hamilton to accept a discounted deal.

    Elite relievers might be out of play, too. Melvin will be operating with a reduced payroll in 2013 and he's discouraged by "the money bullpen guys are getting" in free agency.

Minnesota Twins

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    Scott Baker, Minnesota Twins have mutual interest in a new deal.

    Despite declining Baker's $9.25 million option, GM Terry Ryan says he's interested in bringing the right-hander back (via Rhett Bollinger, MLB.com).

    Pitchers in similar situations—coming off Tommy John surgery—typically sign one-year agreements with modest base salaries.

     

    Twins "desperate" to trade for starting pitching.

    Otherwise, Minnesota wants fresh faces in its abysmal rotation.

    Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com heard from a league source that they were "in heavily" on Ervin Santana. As well, the Twins have already contacted the Tampa Bay Rays about James Shields, according to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe.

New York Mets

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    Contract talks with David Wright are "stuck in neutral."

    The New York Mets formally picked up Wright's 2013 option on Oct. 30, but the two sides aren't close to a multi-year extension. Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets that the stagnation has come despite "continued talking."

    The franchise centerpiece will be eligible for free agency next winter.

    ESPN.com analyst Jim Bowden suggests that the Mets trade Wright if they can't lock him up (ESPN Insider access required).

New York Yankees

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    Mariano Rivera wants to re-sign.

    The future Hall of Famer informed New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman of his intention to return this past Friday, according to Erik Boland of Newsday. Mo is now a free agent, so the two sides will need to negotiate a new contract (likely a one-year deal).

    Consequently, Rafael Soriano is as good as gone. Cashman recently admitted that the reliever wouldn't want to come back as a set-up man (via Wallace Matthews, ESPNNewYork.com).

     

    Joakim Soria comfortable as his set-up man.

    His agent, Oscar Suarez, tells Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com that "Joakim would be elated to work with Mo."

    Soria underwent Tommy John surgery in the spring. Prior to that, however, he spent five seasons as an elite closer with the Kansas City Royals.

     

    Hiroki Kuroda could accept qualifying offer.

    He has until Nov. 9 to settle for the $13.3 million guarantee, and Danny Knobler of CBS Sports wouldn't be surprised if he did.

    Kuroda doesn't mind pitching year-to-year at this point in his career. Plus, the qualifying offer represents a raise from his 2012 salary.

Oakland Athletics

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    Bartolo Colon agrees to one-year, incentive-laden contract.

    Colon is guaranteed a $3 million base salary in his age-40 season. The deal includes an incentive package that could increase its total value beyond $5 million.

    A PED suspension will keep him out through the first five Oakland Athletics games of 2013.

Philadelphia Phillies

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    Michael Bourn doesn't make sense for Philadelphia Phillies.

    The center fielder is not an ideal fit, writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. The Phillies prefer right-handed bats to balance their lineup and can ill afford another hefty, long-term contract.

     

    B.J. Upton does.

    CSNPhilly.com's Corey Seidman and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports expect the 28-year-old to get five-year offers, ranging from $60-75 million. They agree that Philadelphia needs somebody new to take over at the position.

    Moreover, Ken Rosenthal of CBS Sports thinks Upton could be swayed by a couple of former Tampa Bay Rays officials who "recently assumed prominent positions" with the Phillies.

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Pittsburgh Pirates in market for catcher, back-end starter.

    Rod Barajas and Kevin Correia will test free agency. Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review expects the Bucs to spend any available payroll on their replacements. 

    To fill the rotation void, Pittsburgh prefers veteran innings-eaters, as Biertempfel doubts the club can buy a top-flight starter.

San Diego Padres

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    Dan Haren is a target for GM Josh Byrnes.

    The San Diego Padres won't be competing for pricey free agents, either.

    They hope to find top-of-the-rotation quality in the second tier.

    Bill Center of U-T San Diego guesses that the general manager will target Haren. He reminds us that Byrnes traded for the right-hander several years ago while with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

San Francisco Giants

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    Marco Scutaro joins a tougher agency.

    Formally represented by Peter E. Greenberg & Associates, the middle infielder has changed to Praver/Shapiro, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. Barry Praver helped Carlos Marmol, Juan Uribe and Carlos Zambrano secure lucrative, multi-year contracts.

    But don't panic, San Francisco Giants fans—Scutaro still prefers to re-sign with the reigning World Series champs.

     

    Angel Pagan doesn't get qualifying offer, "likely" to sign for four years.

    Courtesy of ESPN's Buster Olney:

    A lot of surprise around baseball that SF didn't make a qualifying offer to Angel Pagan, because he's likely going to get a 4-year deal.

    — Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 4, 2012

Seattle Mariners

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    M's extend Hisashi Iwakuma through 2014.

    In his first major-league season, Iwakuma emerged as a quality starting pitcher (8-4, 2.65 ERA, 1.23 WHIP in 16 GS).

    The $14 million contract extension pays the right-hander $6.5 million in both 2013 and 2014. It includes a $7 million option for 2015 with a $1 million buyout.

    This agreement will be a bargain for the Mariners if Iwakuma proves himself as a legitimate No. 2 option.

     

    Reliever Oliver Perez re-signs.

    Jon Heyman of CBS Sports learned the terms of the deal:

    Ollie Perez got $1.5M plus 600 grand in performance bonuses from #mariners for '13. was back to throwing 94 mph in '12.

    — Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) November 4, 2012

     

    The pleasant uptick in velocity helped him maintain a 2.12 ERA through 33 appearances.

St. Louis Cardinals

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    St. Louis Cardinals to find "short-term fixes" for middle infield.

    GM John Mozeliak experimented with several starting second basemen in 2012. However, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that prospect Kolten Wong is the team's future at the position.

    Strauss considers Stephen Drew and Jeff Keppinger options for next season while the 22-year-old develops.

    The Cardinals also have their doubts about shortstop Rafael Furcal. He suffered an elbow-ligament strain in late August.

Tampa Bay Rays

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    Teams are already inquiring about James Shields.

    The Minnesota Twins made their call first, but Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe expects many other MLB teams to compete for the veteran strike-thrower.

    With a surplus of starting-pitching options, the Tampa Bay Rays would presumably seek offensive firepower in any exchange. They need to replace Carlos Pena and B.J. Upton at first base and center field, respectively.

Texas Rangers

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    Texas still interested in Mike Napoli.

    The Texas Rangers weren't comfortable extending a qualifying offer to their 2012 catcher/first baseman (via Richard Durrett, ESPNDallas.com). Still, GM Jon Daniels will deliberate with his staff and consider bringing Napoli back at a lesser annual salary.

    MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan writes that he remains in contact with Napoli's agent, Brian Grieper.

     

    Josh Hamilton's asking price revealed.

    John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus broke news of his ambitious request through Twitter:

    From someone who knows these things: Josh Hamilton's asking price is 7 years and $175M. #Rangers #MLB

    — John Perrotto (@jperrotto) November 2, 2012

     

    At least a dozen teams might pursue the free agent, but few can afford to commit $25 million annually. The Rangers, meanwhile, will be hesitant to guarantee length, considering Hamilton's suspect durability and past struggles with addiction.

    A seven-year deal would last through his age-38 season.

Toronto Blue Jays

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    Considering a long list of free-agent starting pitchers.

    Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports writes that the Toronto Blue Jays are "casting a wide net" in their pursuit of rotation help. Zack Greinke, Kyle Lohse and Anibal Sanchez sit atop their wish list.

     

    Blue Jays prefer manager with major-league experience.

    Toronto is still skipper-less two weeks after trading John Farrell. Sources tell FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal that candidates with previous MLB managerial experience have the edge in the search for his successor.

    Rosenthal notes that Don Wakamatsu meets that prerequisite, as do Manny Acta, Jim Riggleman and Jim Tracy.

Washington Nationals

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    Washington Nationals will "most likely" replace Edwin Jackson.

    After declining to extend a qualifying offer to Jackson, MLB.com's Bill Ladson expects the free agent to seek a multi-year deal.

    The Nationals don't intend to get into a bidding war for his services.

     

    Team considered "favorites" for Michael Bourn.

    Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes that Washington is in great position to sign free-agent center fielder Michael Bourn, whom they have long been interested in.

    Agent Scott Boras maintains an especially good relationship with the Nats. The team employs several of his clients, including Stephen Strasburg and Jayson Werth.