Analyzing All the Hottest Rumors Coming out of MLB's GM Meetings
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If you put a whole bunch of MLB general managers in one place for a couple of days, there's no telling what kind of craziness could unfold.
Then again, I suppose that depends on your definition of the word "craziness." If various briefings and procedural matters fit the bill as being crazy, then the GM meetings will be absolutely bonkers. If not, you may be disappointed.
In all likelihood, the meetings will pass without generating any big headlines. If you're expecting any big trades or free-agent signings to go down in the next few days, I wouldn't get your hopes up too high.
However, with so many GMs in one place, there's bound to be plenty of trade talk over the next couple of days, and there's likely to be some free-agent buzz as well.
I would suggest keeping your ear to the ground, but I figure I may as well go ahead and do that for you. Check back here periodically throughout the day for the latest buzz coming out of Indian Wells, CA.
Note: Any stats within come courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.
Rangers Focusing on Zack Greinke
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Posted: Friday, Nov. 9 at 7:00 pm ET
The Rangers don't seem to be in much of a hurry to re-sign Josh Hamilton. It sounds like this could be because they'd rather spend their many millions on Zack Greinke instead.
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Rangers are "concentrating their efforts" on Greinke, who went 6-2 with a 3.53 ERA in 13 starts for the Angels after coming over from the Brewers in a July trade.
Heyman sees this as yet another sign that re-signing Hamilton is not a top priority for the Rangers, and I'd say he's right. The Rangers could bring him back if they can't get Greinke and Hamilton doesn't find a great deal on the open market, but Hamilton will be as good as gone if the Rangers do sign Greinke.
It's going to take a ton of money to sign Greinke. John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus has reported that the 29-year-old right-hander is looking for a six-year contract worth $150 million, and that may actually be a conservative estimate. If Anibal Sanchez gets the $100 million contract he's supposedly seeking, then Greinke could up his price closer to the $200 million threshold.
The Rangers aren't as loaded with cash as, say, the Dodgers, but they could be able to do a deal like that. The fact that they'll have Hamilton and, in all likelihood, Mike Napoli coming off the books would only help them in their effort to get Greinke onto their payroll.
If the Rangers do sign him, they'll have the makings of an excellent rotation. Greinke would join Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison and Derek Holland, who is better than people think when he's healthy.
Don't expect anything to be done soon, though. It's been suggested that Greinke is going to sit back and wait for the market to develop before he signs anything, and that's probably still the case. It's worth it for him to wait and see if he might be worth more than he already thinks he's worth.
Reds Eyeing Big Moves?
Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
Posted: Friday, Nov. 9 at 5:50 pm ET
The Reds were the most overlooked contender in the league in 2012, and you get the sense that they're still being overlooked with the offseason now well underway.
But maybe not for long. The word from Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com is that the Reds have their eye on free agent center fielder Michael Bourn. They can't be considered a favorite to sign him due to their payroll restrictions, but there's no denying that they could use a player like him.
Bourn is a defensive upgrade in center field for anyone, including a Reds team that already has a solid defender in Drew Stubbs. What they really need, though, is his bat in the leadoff spot in their lineup.
Reds leadoff hitters were atrocious in 2012. Dusty Baker never found a good one, and the players he used in the leadoff spot ultimately combined to post a league-worst .254 OBP. This is a problem Bourn could easily solve, as he's a safe bet for a .350 OBP and at least 40 stolen bases every year.
But again, it's unlikely that the Reds will be able to afford Bourn. They're more likely to acquire a leadoff man via a trade.
One thing they could do is trade one of their young shortstops for a leadoff man. Reds GM Walt Jocketty told Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com that either Zack Cozart or Didi Gregorius could be traded this winter.
“It depends if we get back what we need,” Jocketty said. “If we don’t, then I won’t mind holding onto them.”
Between the two, my guess is that Cozart has more trade value. He may not have Gregorious' talent, but he certainly has far more major league experience. Teams could be drawn to Cozart as a defensive upgrade, as he rated as a well above-average defensive shortstop in terms of advanced metrics like UZR and DRS (see FanGraphs).
Morosi suggested the Oakland A's, Arizona Diamondbacks and Minnesota Twins as potential trade partners for the Reds, with the idea being for them to trade for Coco Crisp, Gerardo Parra, Adam Eaton, Denard Span or Ben Revere. Any one of them would be a leadoff upgrade for the Reds.
If you're one of the many people out there who are overlooking the Reds, knock it off. They were really good in 2012, and they could be even better in 2013 if they make the right moves this winter.
Rays Pitchers for Sale?
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Posted: Friday, Nov. 9 at 5:10 pm ET
Any team looking to make a deal for a starting pitcher should have the Tampa Bay Rays on speed dial. They have plenty of pitchers to move, and the latest word is that they now have the willingness to actually move one.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, the Rays "finally appear ready" to trade a starting pitcher this winter, and nobody is off-limits. They could even trade both David Price and James Shields.
But that, of course, is quite unlikely. Rosenthal's sources tell him the Rays are more likely to trade just one starting pitcher, and that it's not likely to be Price or Shields. The safer bet is on them trading Jeremy Hellickson or Matt Moore.
The Rays could get a decent haul of players and/or prospects for either one of them. Hellickson has a 3.02 ERA over 60 starts in the last two seasons, and he won't even be arbitration-eligible until 2014. Moore has ace-level stuff, and he's also a few years away from arbitration.
Even still, Price is obviously the Rays' top trade chip. While one executive told Rosenthal that there's "no chance" of Price being traded this winter, next winter could be a different story. Price has already entered his arbitration years and is already starting to get expensive for the Rays (he made a little over $4 million in 2012). The arbitration process is going to make him even more expensive, and there's little hope of the Rays signing him to a contract extension given the club's eternally limited payroll space.
Trading Price won't be a popular decision, but it's a decision that Andrew Friedman will likely have to make in the not-too-distant future.
For now, look for the Rays to trade one of their lesser starters (relatively speaking) for a bat. Given how thin their current lineup is outside of Evan Longoria, they're going to need to find at least one quality hitter this winter, and trading one of their arms is really the only way for them to go about getting one.
Robinson Cano Won't Give the Yankees a Discount
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Posted: Friday, Nov. 9 at 4:50 pm ET
If you like a good, old-fashioned negotiating war, you're going to like the one that the Yankees and Robinson Cano are arming themselves for.
The Yankees are going to pay Cano $15 million in 2013. If they want to keep him beyond the coming season, they'll have to give him a huge extension that won't compromise the team's plans of getting under the $189 million luxury tax threshold by 2014.
That, obviously, won't be easy. The word from Joel Sherman of the New York Post is that Cano will not be giving the Yankees a hometown discount, as he feels he already did so when he signed a six-year, $57 million contract back before the 2008 season.
Indications are that Cano is going to ask for a 10-year contract, most likely worth over $200 million. If the Yankees were to sign him to such a contract, then they'd have four players locked up for at least $20 million for the 2014 season and beyond.
The Yankees could make that work, but not without cutting corners when filling out the rest of the team's roster. Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner may figure that's not the best way to build a championship-caliber ballclub, and they're also bound to be concerned about what kind of ballplayer Cano would be later on in a potential 10-year pact.
I still think the smart money is on the Yankees locking Cano up eventually. But as more and more about the situation comes out, the possibility of Cano leaving after 2013 is only becoming more likely.
The Latest Josh Hamilton Chatter
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Posted: Friday, Nov. 9 at 4:30 pm ET
Who will Josh Hamilton sign with this winter?
Shoot, that's like asking who's going to direct the next Star Wars movie. There are plenty of options, but no obvious ones.
Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, however, was able to put together a general list of possibilities after talking to various people in the know at the GM meetings. The teams to watch in the Hamilton sweepstakes are the Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies, Seattle Mariners and the Baltimore Orioles.
That the Mariners and Orioles may be players for Hamilton isn't really news, but the Nats and Phillies haven't been brought up all that much. The Nats will need an outfielder if they don't re-sign Adam LaRoche, as Michael Morse would be moved to first base on a full-time basis. The Nats' funds aren't limitless, especially given the fact that they already have two $100 million players on their payroll, but now is as good a time as ever for them to spend after the season they just had.
Still, the Nats seem like a stretch. The Phillies are even more of a stretch, though, as their payroll is already loaded with big contracts and they already have two sluggers in Chase Utley and Ryan Howard who are breaking down. They don't need a third.
Elsewhere, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has heard that the Boston Red Sox are at least thinking about Hamilton. It's "unlikely" that they'll sign him, but, well, they're thinking about him. For whatever that's worth (see "nothing").
As for how the Texas Rangers fit into all of this, the word from Bob Nightengale of USA Today is that they're not planning on offering Hamilton anything more than a three-year contract. If that's the case, they may as well offer him a pink slip and tell him not to let the door hit his posterior on the way out.
So we can at least count on Hamilton not being back in Texas next season. Aside from that, we still don't know much. We may have a loose idea of which teams are interested in him, but no super-obvious fit has come to light yet.
My best guess is that Hamilton will be signed by a proverbial "mystery team," as Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols were last offseason. There has to be a team out there that likes Hamilton more than it's letting on.
Anibal Sanchez Wants a Huge Contract
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Posted: Friday, Nov. 9 at 2:25 am ET
A couple months ago, Anibal Sanchez didn't look like a pitcher who was going to make a killing in free agency. He would do well, but it's not like he was going to be worth anything close to $100 million.
Funny how things change.
According to Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com, Sanchez is on the hunt for a six-year contract worth $90 million. That's essentially the same contract C.J. Wilson signed with the Angels last offseason with one extra year tacked onto it.
That's a lot of money for a pitcher with a career 3.75 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. And indeed, we're talking about a guy who has yet to top 200 innings in a single season. Just goes to show what an excellent postseason can do for one's perceived free agent value.
The crazy part is that Sanchez is likely going to get precisely what he's seeking. He has plenty of suitors, including the Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rangers and Dodgers. The Dodgers, in particular, aren't likely to be scared off by a mere six-year, $90 million contract demand.
One guy who has to like the sound of all this is Zack Greinke. He's likely going to wait for Sanchez to set the market with his contract. If Sanchez gets a $90 million deal, Greinke may figure he's worth more than the $150 million John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus says he's looking for.
So get ready, folks. Some crazy money is going to be thrown at pitchers this winter. Makes you wonder what's going to happen next year when Tim Lincecum, Josh Johnson and Matt Garza hit the market.
Note to self: Train firstborn son to be a pitcher.
UPDATE: Friday, Nov. 9 at 4:35 pm ET
Wait just a minute here. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has heard that $90 million may not be enough to sign Sanchez:
anibal sanchez's price going up? he asked 1 team for $90M, 6 yrs, and another about $100M, 7 yrs.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) November 9, 2012
Anibal Sanchez for $100 million?
Is this...Is this real life?
My best guess: The team Sanchez told he wanted $100 million was the Dodgers. Heck, that's what I would do if I was him. Or anybody, really.
Red Sox Interested in Shin-Soo Choo, Justin Masterson and Pretty Much Everyone
Jason Miller/Getty Images
Posted: Friday, Nov. 9 at 12:00 am ET
The Boston Red Sox have many holes to fill this winter. To fill these holes, it sounds like Sox GM Ben Cherington is interested in, well, everyone.
Thursday brought an abundance of Red Sox rumors. Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com reported that they are interested in trading for Indians stars Shin-Soo Choo and Justin Masterson, which makes perfect sense given the holes they have in right field and in their starting rotation. The Sox have the prospects to potentially swing a deal for both of them, and they certainly have the funds to keep both of them long-term if they so desire.
Elsewhere, ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted that the Red Sox are interested in Nick Swisher due to his versatility. He's a switch-hitter who could help them both in right field and at first base, making him one of a kind both on the free-agent market and on the trade market. He wouldn't come cheap, but money isn't really an issue for the Red Sox at this juncture if they see somebody they like.
Also on Boston's radar for first base are Mike Napoli and Adam LaRoche, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Either of them would bring some much-needed power to Boston's lineup, but LaRoche is probably a better fit because he could essentially take Adrian Gonzalez's place as the club's slick-fielding, lefty-swinging first baseman.
As far as free agent pitchers the Sox could pursue, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald has reported that they have their eye on Anibal Sanchez. Morosi has reported that they've reached out to Hiroki Kuroda.
Clearly, the Red Sox are casting a pretty wide net this offseason. It's fairly obvious that Cherington is leaving no stone unturned, which means that you can probably expect to hear the Red Sox being linked to more and more players as the winter moves along.
Take every rumor you hear with a grain of salt. The Red Sox aren't going to be seriously interested in every player they're rumored to be interested in. In fact, it could be that they're kicking so many tires as part of an effort to hide their true intentions. The Sox could have other things in mind than the things that are being reported.
Either way, it will be a busy offseason in Boston, and it appears it's going to be a fun one as well.
Mets Looking to Trade R.A. Dickey?
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Posted: Thursday, Nov. 8 at 11:00 pm ET
There's a strong possibility that R.A. Dickey will win the NL Cy Young award this season. It also sounds like there's a strong possibility that he won't be back in a Mets uniform next season.
On Thursday morning, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that there is a "substantial gap" gap between Dickey and the Mets in regards to a possible contract extension. There's not a ton of optimism that a deal will get done.
So it makes sense that the Mets were supposedly "intensifying efforts" to see what they could get for Dickey in a trade at the GM meetings. If they can't sign him to an extension, selling high on Dickey would be a no-brainer of a decision.
However, Mets GM Sandy Alderson indicated pretty strong that nothing is imminent when he spoke to reporters on Thursday.
"I think it's way too early to tell and at this point, our focus -- almost exclusive focus -- has been to try to re-sign him at this point," Alderson said when he was asked if Dickey could be traded, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
For what it's worth, Alderson also said that he hadn't even made any attempts to "canvas interest" in Dickey at the meetings. He could be trying to signal to Dickey that the team still wants him, or he could be telling the truth.
Still, all signs point towards the Mets keeping their options open. Alderson may be saying one thing, but Sherman isn't the only writer who has reported that talks have taken place. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News has also reported that some discussions have been had, even if they have been "preliminary."
It's doubtful that anything will happen in the near future, but you have to think that the Mets aren't going to let the status quo last forever. If they can't get Dickey to agree to an extension, they'll either trade him during the winter or ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.
Trading him during the winter would obviously net the Mets a better package of players, as a two-month rental isn't nearly as valuable as a one-year rental. But this will ultimately depend on how realistic the Mets think their chances of contending in 2013 are even if they keep Dickey.
Given what happened in the second half of the 2012 season, the Mets would be taking a big leap of faith if they moved forward with Dickey in the club's plans for 2013 despite not having an extension in place. The Mets have a lot of holes that need to be filled, and it will be a lot easier for them to fill these holes if they trade Dickey sooner rather than later.
The Latest on Justin Upton
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Posted: Thursday, Nov. 8 at 8:05 pm ET
Another day, another million Justin Upton rumors to sift through.
We know that the Texas Rangers don't want to give up either Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar for Upton, but the word from Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com is that rival executives around the league still view them as being one of the teams most interested in Upton.
The other, surprisingly, is the Tampa Bay Rays. They don't have a ton of money to throw around, but Upton's contract won't be too rich for them so long as they're not also paying his older brother. And they likely won't be paying him in 2013, as B.J. Upton is expected to reject the qualifying offer the Rays have made him.
David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution has heard that the Diamondbacks are willing to take a starting pitcher as the centerpiece of a deal for Upton, in which case they could certainly do business with the Rays. Tampa Bay could conceivably offer Jeremy Hellickson as a centerpiece in a trade for Upton.
The dark horse for Upton may be the Detroit Tigers, who could certainly use some extra thump in their outfield. Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic has heard that the Tigers are at least doing their due diligence on him. Rosenthal spoke to one executive who speculated that Tigers third base prospect Nick Castellanos could go to Arizona in a trade, as the Diamondbacks would supposedly settle for a third baseman in an Upton trade.
As for the two titans of the AL East, the word is that neither the Red Sox nor the Yankees are expected to be major players in the Upton sweepstakes. Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald has heard that the Red Sox are not expected to make a run at him. Joel Sherman of the New York Post, meanwhile, has heard that the Yankees don't view Upton as a great fit for New York.
From the sound of things, there may not be that many other teams out there that aren't interested in Upton. He's a fit for pretty much anyone, as he has the potential to be one of the game's elite players and his current contract isn't all that ridiculous in the grand scheme of things.
Be that as it may, it's doubtful that Upton will be traded soon. The sheer wealth of rumors floating around at the moment is largely a result of the GM meetings being in progress. Kevin Towers is probably just getting the lay of the land for the time being.
Diamondbacks Eyeing Rangers Shortstops for Justin Upton
Jason Miller/Getty Images
Posted: Thursday, Nov. 8 at 1:30 am ET
The Texas Rangers have long been viewed as a fit for Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton, and now it sounds like the two clubs may do business in the near future.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Rangers have expressed a "strong interest" in Upton. An executive with a direct involvement says talks are ongoing.
However, the Diamondbacks want two players the Rangers don't want to give up: 24-year-old shortstop Elvis Andrus and 19-year-old shortstop Jurickson Profar. The Rangers may not have space for both of them in their lineup in 2013, but they'd rather not trade either of them if they can help it.
Nightengale has reported that the Diamondbacks are looking for either a third baseman or a shortstop in exchange for Andrus, so it makes perfect sense that they'd be interested in Andrus and Profar. Since they don't want to give either of them up, the Rangers may try to convince the Diamondbacks to take on Mike Olt in a trade instead.
The Rangers should be motivated to get a deal done for Upton. They stand to lose a lot of power in their lineup with Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli likely to leave as free agents, and Upton could help restore some of that power. By stashing him in right field, the Rangers could move Nelson Cruz into a full-time DH role.
But from the sound of things, the Rangers are sticking to their guns. They didn't want to trade any of their top young players at the trade deadline, and they don't seem to want to trade any of their young players now.
They'll have some leverage to work with if the market for Upton fails to expand, but that's a fool's hope. He's a player that a lot of teams would love to have, and some teams may be more aggressive in their pursuit of him than the Rangers.
Dodgers Not Looking to Trade for a Starting Pitcher?
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Posted: Thursday, Nov. 8 at 1:00 am ET
The Los Angeles Dodgers need a starting pitcher. Round up the usual suspects.
Except trade targets. They need not apply, apparently.
Based on conversations he had at the GM meetings on Wednesday, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he's “probably unlikely” to make a trade for a starting pitcher. He's more likely to address the club's need for a starter on the free-agent market.
Said Colletti about this offseason's pitching market:
It’s not massive. It’s probably unlikely trade-wise. There are probably three or four different pitchers we have interest in. We’ll see. It’s still fairly early in the process. But pitching is most of our concentration right now.
The Dodgers are still looking for a No. 2- or No. 3-type pitcher to slot behind Clayton Kershaw in their rotation. Their lack of interest in what the trade market has to offer takes them out of the running for pitchers like James Shields and others, but they should still be considered a threat to sign Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez or Hiroki Kuroda.
Whoever the Dodgers want, they have more than enough funds to go get him. This includes Greinke, who is supposedly looking for six years and $150 million according to a report from John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus.
It's not a question of who makes the most sense for the Dodgers. It's a question who they want the most. They are the new Yankees.
Jacoby Ellsbury for Elvis Andrus Not Happening
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Posted: Thursday, Nov. 8 at 12:45 am ET
A lot of people are looking for the Boston Red Sox to trade Jacoby Ellsbury this winter. My guess is that even more people are looking for the Texas Rangers to trade Elvis Andrus.
At some point, somebody suggested that the Red Sox and Rangers should just swap their two major trade chips one-for-one. Why not, right?
Don't count on it. From Rob Bradford of WEEI.com:
Fun while it lasted, I suppose, but this isn't very surprising.
While everyone may be looking for the Rangers to trade Andrus, they seem to have other ideas in mind. Instead of trading Andrus, they could hold on to him and make room for top prospect Jurickson Profar by moving him to second base and Ian Kinsler to the outfield.
As for the Red Sox, they could easily justify trading Ellsbury now, but their outfield would be left even more barren than it already is if they did. He's the only starter they have locked up at the moment. If they trade him, they'll have no viable starters for their outfield. They don't seem to want to rebuild that much.
An Ellsbury-for-Andrus swap is still intriguing, in no small part because Andrus would be a perfect solution to Boston's longstanding shortstop problem. Ellsbury, for his part, would be a worthy replacement for Josh Hamilton if he were to recapture his 2011 form.
But it sounds like this one isn't going to get off the operating table.
Josh Hamilton on the Mariners' Radar?
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Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 11:30 pm ET
The word around the campfire is that the Mariners are looking for bats this winter. And with the fences at Safeco Field coming in next season, they actually have some hope of drawing free-agent hitters to the Northwest.
Even Josh Hamilton.
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Mariners "look like a possible new entry" in the Hamilton sweepstakes. This according to people familiar with their thinking.
This is about as flimsy as rumors get, but the pieces fit together reasonably well. The Mariners need power in their lineup, particularly in their outfield. Per FanGraphs, only Astros outfielders posted a lower slugging percentage than Mariners outfielders in 2012.
The Mariners have less than $50 million in salaries committed for the 2013 season, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. When the season ends, they'll have over $15 million coming off the books if they decline Franklin Gutierrez's option for 2014 and Chone Figgins' option for 2014 fails to vest.
So it's not entirely inconceivable that the Mariners will be willing to offer Hamilton a deal worth $25 million per year. It's doubtful that they'd sign him for as long as the seven years Hamilton is reportedly looking for, but they could go as long as five years in a new contract.
There seem to only be dark horses in the Hamilton sweepstakes. We may as well add the Mariners to the pile.
More Justin Upton Talk
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 10:25 pm ET
Thanks to Ken Rosenthal, we know that Justin Upton is back on the trade block. What wasn't apparent right away was how his no-trade rights may have changed from when anybody last checked.
According to Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic, Upton's no-trade list has indeed changed:
Towers said Upton's no-trade list includes four new teams from last season. Last year it was Yankees, Red Sox, Indians and Cubs.— Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro) November 8, 2012
Not surprisingly, Piecoro also noted that Kevin Towers won't hold off on talking to the clubs on Upton's no-trade list:
Towers said that won't keep him from talking with those teams. In fact, he said he's already talked about Upton with one of those four.— Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro) November 8, 2012
So there's that. Now we know a little more than we used to.
In case you're confused, it's not uncommon for players to include teams they're willing to play for on their no-trade lists. It's a way of gaining some negotiating power.
Upton's no-trade list may be beside the point at this juncture. It seems like an inevitability that he will be traded, and Upton himself could use a change of scenery. He'd probably welcome a trade to anywhere.
The smart money is on something getting done this winter. The D-Backs have put Upton on the block only to pull him back off too many times to do it again. They don't want to burn a bridge that appears to already be scorched.
The Latest on the Market for Pitchers
Leon Halip/Getty Images
Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 8:35 pm ET
What once looked like a poor offseason market for pitching suddenly doesn't look so bad anymore. There's plenty of talent to be had on the free-agent market, and more to be had on the trade market.
Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com has the latest on this year's key pitching targets, including right-hander Anibal Sanchez. One club official says Sanchez is in a “favorable position” on the open market, and that he could wind up with a deal similar to the five-year, $77.5 million contract C.J. Wilson signed with the Angels last offseason.
I'm guessing much of that has to do with Sanchez's showing in the postseason, as he only has a 3.75 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP for his career. He's also never topped 200 innings in a single season before. Whoever signs him is going to be overpaying him a little bit.
Elsewhere, Morosi expects clubs to make a play for one of the pitchers the Rays may be willing to move before they turn their attention to free agency. Jeremy Hellickson and James Shields are the primary targets, and both of them offer good value for the money they're being paid (Hellickson isn't even arbitration-eligible yet). Clubs may prefer either one of them over Sanchez, Zack Greinke, Kyle Lohse or whoever.
As for Greinke, Morosi thinks he'll wait to sign until after Sanchez sets the market with his new deal. As it is, John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus has heard that Greinke's asking price is six years and $150 million.
He'll get that. And maybe more, to be honest. He's clearly the best pitcher on the market this year, and he's selling his services to a pitching-hungry collection of buyers.
I'm waiting for the Dodgers to offer him a blank check. I'm guessing you are too.
Padres Not Looking to Trade Chase Headley
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 8:20 pm ET
Chase Headley was one of the biggest surprises of the 2012 season. He compiled an .875 OPS and hit 31 homers with an NL-high 115 RBI. He also won a Gold Glove and has since been named a finalist for the NL MVP award.
The Padres could trade Headley while his value is sky-high, but Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com has it straight from the club's GM that they're not going to do that:
Josh Byrnes said he doesn't expect Chase Headley to be traded this winter. Padres actually like their offense, need pitching.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 7, 2012
The Padres may change their minds if they're unable to sign Headley to an extension before he hits free agency in 2015, but for now they may as well keep him around and hope for the best.
And better days should be coming for the Padres. They have a strong farm system to draw on, and they're under a new ownership group that may be willing to increase payroll.
If Headley keeps getting better like he's been doing over the last couple of seasons, he may yet have an MVP in his future if the team around him gets better.
Outfield Plans and Other Athletics Notes
A's GM Billy Beane
Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE
Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 6:00 pm ET
The A's came out of nowhere to win the AL West in 2012, and indications are that the core pieces from this season's club will be back in 2013. They're not about to break up the band.
So don't go asking the A's for an outfielder. Joel Sherman of the New York Post says that the A's are planning on holding on to Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick and newcomer Chris Young:
#Athletics still telling teams going to keep all 4 OFs (Cespedes Young Reddick Crisp) rotate among OF and not have traditional DH— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) November 7, 2012
As for the club's hole at shortstop, Sherman says the A's aren't desperate to land a star:
After letting Drew go, #Athletics planning to bottom feed for SS, feeling there will be pool of guys and key will be to find avg producer— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) November 7, 2012
Sound like the A's to you?
Yeah, sounds like the A's to me. They succeeded because of their depth in 2012, and they'll have downright enviable outfield depth if they hold on to their four key guys. That's part of the reason why they can take what they can get at shortstop.
The A's aren't going to catch anybody off-guard in 2013 like they did in 2012, but they have a roster strong enough to contend once again. Billy Beane doesn't need to make any significant tweaks.
Of course, he probably will anyway. Knowing him.
Diamondbacks Also Have Trevor Bauer on the Block
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Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 5:00 pm ET
The Diamondbacks aren't messing around with their options on the trade market this winter. It was reported earlier on Wednesday that they have Justin Upton out on the block once again, and he's not alone.
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick has heard that the D-Backs will listen to offers for Trevor Bauer as well:
While Justin Upton's name makes the rounds as trade candidate, sources say #dbacks will also listen on pitcher Trevor Bauer— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) November 7, 2012
It gets better:
Hearing that Bauer has fallen out of favor with some people in #dbacks organization.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) November 7, 2012
Well then. Isn't this interesting.
Bauer entered the 2012 season as one of Arizona's top prospects, and he pitched well enough in the minors to get a call to the majors in late June.
Alas, we was erratic in the four starts he made, allowing 14 hits and 13 walks in 16.1 innings. The last start he made saw him walk five hitters in only three innings against the Cincinnati Reds. Still, it doesn't sound like Bauer's arm or his control are the problem here. It sounds like his problem may be upstairs. Maybe the D-Backs don't like his politics?
Whatever it is, they're likely to get some juicy offers for him. Bauer underwhelmed in the majors in 2012, but his excellent stuff and his impressive minor league track record will have teams lining up to take a good, long look at him.
Maybe the D-Backs can pair him and Upton in a trade and get one big haul instead of two smaller hauls. There's probably at least one or two teams out there who would love to have both of them.
Josh Hamilton on Orioles' Radar
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Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 3:45 pm ET
It's unclear whether or not this rumor has been born out of the GM meetings, per se, but it's definitely going to lead to plenty of discussion among those gathered at Indian Wells.
According to Jon Paul Morosi, the Baltimore Orioles are gearing up for a run at Josh Hamilton. He apparently features prominently on Baltimore's list of options for its opening in left field.
Left field is where Hamilton belongs at this point, as it's a position that leaves him with less ground to cover and will thus keep him fresher for the long haul. The Orioles wouldn't be tempted to move him to center if they were to sign him, as they already have a pretty good center fielder in Adam Jones.
But can the Orioles possibly afford Hamilton? John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus has heard that his asking price is $175 million for seven years, which would make him one of the highest-paid players in the league and the most expensive player on the Orioles by a mile.
The Orioles opened the 2012 season with a payroll just under $85 million. They could choose to grow their payroll after exciting their fanbase with a return to glory in 2012, but asking them to grow it with a $25 million-per-year contract is asking a lot. That's not the kind of contract the Orioles can afford to live with if things go south.
The Orioles could end up with Hamilton if the market forces him to drop his price tag to something more like $20 million per year over five years, but that's not likely to happen. Hamilton won't be ignored on the market for long enough to convince him that he needs to adjust his demands.
As such, it's easier to see the Orioles signing Cody Ross instead. Morosi says he is also on their list of options for their opening in left field. And since ESPN's Buster Olney has reported that Ross is only seeking $25 million over three years, he makes a ton more sense for the Orioles than Hamilton does.
Justin Upton on the Block. Again.
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Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 3:45 pm ET
Is Justin Upton on the trading block?
The answer varies depending on who you ask and which day it is. If you ask Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com today, he'll tell you that Upton is indeed on the block. His sources tell him that the Diamondbacks are "engaged in active discussions" to trade Upton, and one source says the odds of him being traded are right around "80-20."
Also worth noting is the fact that Upton's no-trade list has changed. It included the Yankees, Red Sox, Indians and Cubs this past season, but that's apparently no longer the case.
Upton's trade value isn't exactly though the roof after he managed just a .785 OPS and 17 homers in 2012 a year after posting an .898 OPS and hitting 31 homers. However, the Diamondbacks are still in a position to demand a lot for Upton due to his youth, his sky-high upside and his relatively team-friendly contract. Upton is signed through 2015, and his salary will max out at $14.5 million.
Upton has been noted as a possibility for the Texas Rangers if (OK, when) Josh Hamilton leaves as a free agent, and Rosenthal brought that possibility up once again in his report. Elvis Andrus is still the most sensible target for the Diamondacks even after they traded for Cliff Pennington in October.
There's a fair chance Upton will get dealt this winter if the Diamondbacks really are serious about trading him. He may only be 25 years old, but he clearly needs a change of scenery and the Diamondbacks should trade him now just in case his struggles in 2012 were a sign of things to come.
For the record, it's doubtful that he'll be moved at any point in the next few days. But it's a good bet that D-Backs GM Kevin Towers will know who his potential trading partners are before long.
Pay Cut Coming for Mariano Rivera?
Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 3:45 pm ET
The 2012 season didn't go the way Mariano Rivera was hoping it would go, as he was done for the season after tearing his ACL in May. But hey, at least he was compensated to the tune of $15 million. Things could have been worse.
After much deliberation, Rivera has decided that he wants to pitch again in 2013. Indications are that this decision is just fine with the Yankees, as they certainly need a closer now after Rafael Soriano opted out of his contract a few days after the end of the World Series.
However, the word from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com is that the Yankees aren't about to pay Rivera $15 million to come back. He's going to have to take a pay cut, and the current ballpark figure for his new contract is right at $10 million.
This doesn't come as too much of a surprise. George Steinbrenner likely would have authorized $15 million for Rivera in 2013, but these new payroll-conscious Yankees aren't about to pay that kind of money to a pitcher in his early 40s who happens to be coming off a major knee injury. It helps that they know there's no competition for Rivera, as he's not about to sign anywhere else.
My guess is that a $5 million pay cut won't stop Rivera from signing. One thing the Yankees could do to appease him is allow him to earn an extra $5 million in 2013 through incentives. He could be paid like Mariano Rivera in the end, but only if he pitches like Mariano Rivera.
It may take some time, but something will get done eventually.
Don't Expect the Trade Market for A-Rod to Heat Up
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Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 3:45 pm ET
Speaking of the Yankees, Mariano Rivera won't be the only player on Brian Cashman's mind at the GM meetings. He'll also be pondering Alex Rodriguez.
Alas, he may be the only one pondering A-Rod. Cashman told Ken Davidoff of the New York Post that he doesn't expect teams to show any interest in A-Rod any time soon.
“I don’t see that happening," said Cashman.
Surprise, surprise. It's already been pretty heavily implied that A-Rod is going to be back in New York in 2013, and teams have as much incentive to give the Yankees a call about him as they did right after the last out of the American League Championship Series was squeezed. This is to say they have no incentive whatsoever.
At best, A-Rod is a slightly above-average third baseman at this point. The problem is that he's 37 and clearly in rapid decline as a player. This was clear enough to begin with, and it became crystal clear during the postseason when he collected just three hits in 25 at-bats with 12 strikeouts.
Cashman would no doubt love to move A-Rod if he had a choice, but he really doesn't. Even if he does find a taker for him, said taker won't want anything to do with the $114 million left on Rodriguez's pact with the Yankees.
And then there's the matter of Rodriguez's no-trade clause, which he's said he has no interest in waiving.
So, basically, there's nothing new to report here. All Cashman really did was confirm that the status quo is still holding strong.
Mariners Looking for More Offense (Surprise!)
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik (L) and manager Eric Wedge (R) from 2010.
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 3:45 pm ET
Last offseason, the Mariners made a pretty significant splash when they traded young right-hander Michael Pineda to the Yankees for highly-regarded catching prospect Jesus Montero.
Montero only managed a .685 OPS in his first full season with his new club, but the .768 OPS he posted on the road should give the Mariners hope for him with the fences at Safeco Field moving in next season.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Mariners are looking to add some more offense around Montero this winter:
#Mariners again seeking offense. Free-agent hitters indicating greater interest with team moving in fences. We’ll see how it plays out.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 7, 2012
The notion that free-agent hitters are open to signing with the Mariners is a switch from the norm. With the fences set to move in, it seems that players aren't afraid that they'll suffer the same fate as Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre when they signed with the Mariners a few years back.
The Mariners may be willing to spend on free-agent hitters too. According to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik has indicated that the club's payroll could grow in 2013. They're currently about $16 million short of their Opening Day payroll from 2012, and it's possible they may actually exceed what they spent on players in 2012 this year.
More than likely, though, the Mariners are going to trade for hitting before they sign any. One thing they have plenty of at their disposal is young pitching, and they could dangle some of that in order to grab a bat this winter.
For what it's worth, Rosenthal noted that the Mariners now regard young right-hander Brandon Maurer the same way they regard top pitching prospects Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton. If so, that gives them potentially four quality young pitchers to deal in trades.
My suggestion is to keep an eye on the Mariners this winter. They showed signs of life in the second half of the 2012 season after they dealt Ichiro to the Yankees, and they have some quality young players poised to make a difference in 2013. They could shock the AL West much like the A's did this past season, especially if they add an impact bat in the coming weeks and months.
Hot-Button Topics to Be Discussed
Melky Cabrera's name is likely to come up a few times when the GMs sit down to talk PEDs.
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 3:45 pm ET
There's going to be all sorts of trade and free-agency chatter at the GM meetings, but for the most part the league's GMs are going to be occupied with matters that concern the general landscape of Major League Baseball.
According to Jorge Arangure, Jr. of the New York Times, among the topics on tap for discussion at the GM meetings are whether or not instant replay needs to be expanded to include fair or foul calls and other tricky plays, and there will also be some talk about protective headgear for pitchers.
It's no real surprise that there's going to be a focus on instant replay. There were numerous occurrences throughout the postseason in which having more replay would have come in handy, and it's safe to say that the public pressure for MLB to take the next step is only getting more intense.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, one thing that could happen in the near future is that MLB could equip each ballpark with systems designed to track balls hit down the foul lines. They tested certain camera and radar systems at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field toward the end of the 2012 season, and these systems supposedly did a fine job of capturing accurate data.
Protective headgear for pitchers is another idea that MLB needs to start taking very seriously. A line drive to A's pitcher Brandon McCarthy's head in early September put him in a life-threatening situation. Later on in the World Series, a line drive off Doug Fister's head resulted in some uneasiness on the part of fans and many writers when he was allowed to stay in the game after a very brief series of tests out on the mound.
It's doubtful that MLB will move to make traditional hard helmets mandatory for pitchers, as the league did for base coaches a few years ago. But Passan says that the league is looking to test out Kevlar lining in pitchers' hats in the minor leagues this year. If things work out, pitchers at the major league level could soon have Kevlar lining in their hats as well.
Elsewhere, ESPN's Buster Olney says that PEDs are going to be a topic of discussion at the GM meetings. "Another perceived wave" of PEDs is a "growing concern" in baseball, and the league needs to figure out how to meet it head-on.
Presumably, the one drug that will be focused on more than the others is testosterone. Giants All-Star Melky Cabrera and A's veteran starter Bartolo Colon were both caught and suspended for testosterone in 2012, and before that MLB thought it had Ryan Braun caught for using testosterone in 2011.
In a strange twist of fate, it was announced on Wednesday that young Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal has also been caught for testosterone. He will serve a 50-game suspension to start the 2013 season.
It's obviously good news that cheaters are being caught, but the league could be worried that a lot of players are beating the testing somehow. A new or upgraded testing procedure could be in the cards.
None of this is as interesting as Team X possibly trading for Player Y and then making a player for Free Agent Z, but this stuff is definitely important, folks. The groundwork for some significant changes could be laid at the GM meetings.