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

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2012

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

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    With the GM meetings in the rearview mirror, the hot stove should continue to heat up as MLB trade and free-agency rumors continue to roll in on a daily basis.

    This is always a time of excitement and optimism for all 30 teams—a time when seemingly everyone has their own varied opinion on what their favorite team should do.

    Here is a look at the latest rumors surrounding each MLB team as we push ever closer to the annual winter meetings.

Baltimore Orioles: Targeting 1B, LF and DH on the Trade Market

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    According to a tweet from Brittany Ghiroli of, the Orioles are targeting first base, left field and designated hitter on the trade market, and there are a number of potential fits.

    Two names that have already been thrown into the discussion are Royals DH Billy Butler and Twins outfielder Josh Willingham, and both guys would provide an impact middle-of-the-order presence (via Paul Hagen of as the Orioles look to repeat their 2012 success.

Boston Red Sox: Interested in Free-Agent C Mike Napoli

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    The Red Sox have already added a catcher this offseason, signing former Braves backstop David Ross to a two-year, $6.2 million deal. He joins Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway as catchers on their roster.

    Despite that, the team is reportedly interested in Rangers free agent Mike Napoli, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI. Signing him could prompt a trade, or the Red Sox could opt to use him at first base or DH, but he'd be a welcome power bat to their depleted roster.

New York Yankees: Interested in Acquiring Marlins SP Ricky Nolasco

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    As the Marlins continue to auction off anyone and everyone with any value on their team, the Yankees have shown interest in right-hander Ricky Nolasco, according to a tweet from Erik Boland of Newsday.

    The 29-year-old has one year at $11.5 million remaining on his contract, and he's coming off of a 12-13, 4.48 ERA, 125 K, 191 IP season in 2012. 

Tampa Bay Rays: Team Open to Trading a Starter, Possibly Matt Moore

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    It is no secret that the Rays have an abundance of pitching talent and holes up and down the lineup, so it would only make sense that the team would use some of their pitching on the trade market to improve their offense.

    Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote on how the Rays could consider moving someone from the group of James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Jeff Niemann and potentially even Matt Moore for the right package. His thoughts were that the team may be more open to trading a pitcher this winter than they have been in the past.

Toronto Blue Jays: A Look at the Blue Jays' Potential Post-Trade Lineup

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    The Blue Jays pulled off a huge deal by acquiring Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Emilio Bonifacio, Mark Buehrle and John Buck for seven players.

    Here's a look at their potential Opening Day lineup via



    SS Jose Reyes

    2B Emilio Bonifacio

    RF Jose Bautista

    1B Edwin Encarnacion

    CF Colby Rasmus

    3B Brett Lawrie

    DH Adam Lind

    C J.P. Arencibia

    LF Anthony Gose



    SP Josh Johnson

    SP Mark Buehrle

    SP Brandon Morrow

    SP Ricky Romero

    SP J.A. Happ

    CP Casey Janssen


    That certainly has the look of a legitimate contender, and win or lose, the Blue Jays appear to be all in on the 2013 season. 

Chicago White Sox: Interested in Bringing Back Kevin Youkilis in Free Agency

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    The White Sox had a dismal third base situation last season prior to acquiring Kevin Youkilis from the Red Sox at the end of June. He went on to hit .236 with 15 home runs and 46 RBI over 80 games, but the team declined the $13 million option on the veteran.

    According to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, Youkilis is drawing interest from six teams right now, and the White Sox are among them. As it stands, the White Sox are in the same situation they were last season prior to acquiring Youkilis.

Cleveland Indians: Interested in Jason Bay, Possibly Melky Cabrera

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    The Mets made headlines last week when they released embattled outfielder Jason Bay with one year and $19 million remaining on his contract (via ESPN).

    The outfielder hit just .165 with eight home runs and 20 RBI over 194 at-bats last season, and he has an uphill battle to turn his career around.

    Looking for outfield help, the Indians are reportedly interested in Bay, according a piece from Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer. The article also named Melky Cabrera as a potential fit for the Tribe as he looks to get his career back on track after a performance-enhancing drug suspension.

Detroit Tigers: Have Made Offer to Comeback Candidate Jeremy Bonderman

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    According to a tweet from Buster Olney, the Tigers have made an offer to former starter Jeremy Bonderman, who last pitched in 2010 when he went 8-10 with a 5.53 ERA for Detroit.

    The 30-year-old won 50 games from 2004 to 2007 for the Tigers, but shoulder injuries have kept him out of baseball for the past two seasons. More than a dozen teams have already checked in on him, according to Olney, as they search for potential bargains.

Kansas City Royals: Starter Jeremy Guthrie Seeking Three-Year, $34 Million Deal

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    The Rockies shipped Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom to the Orioles last offseason for Jeremy Guthrie, but when he struggled to a 3-9 record and 6.35 ERA over his first 19 outings, he was flipped to the Royals for Jonathan Sanchez.

    He responded to the move well, going 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA in 14 starts with the Royals, and now he is reportedly seeking a three-year, $34 million deal on the free-agent market (via Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star).

    The Royals are interested in bringing him back, but it will likely have to be at a much lower price than that. Dutton references salary predictions from Jim Bowden (two-year, $12 million), Jon Heyman (three-year, $27 million) and an "industry expert" (two-year, $14 million).

    The market for Guthrie appears to be a tough one to nail down at this point.

Minnesota Twins: Team Kicking the Tires on a Number of Veteran Starters

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    The Twins starting pitching was horrendous last season, and they are understandably searching for rotation help this offseason.

    According to Darren Wolfson of ESPN Twin Cities, the team has been in contact with Brandon McCarthy and Anibal Sanchez as well as lower-cost targets in Joe Blanton, Ryan Dempster, Brett Myers and even Brandon Webb, who has not pitched since 2009.

Houston Astros: Teams Showing Interest in Jed Lowrie; Astros Plan on Keeping Him

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    Acquired from the Red Sox in the trade that sent reliever Mark Melancon to Boston, Jed Lowrie showed impressive power as the Astros' everyday shortstop, and while injuries limited him to just 97 games, he still managed 16 home runs and 42 RBI.

    With virtually nothing in the way of free-agent shortstops, Lowrie is drawing plenty of interest in trade talks (via Buster Olney), but the Astros have every intention of keeping the 28-year-old and will need to be wowed to move him.

Los Angeles Angels: Looking to Add Relievers, Not Necessarily Proven Closers

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    After second-year man Jordan Walden faltered in the closer role last season, the Angels found an unexpected ninth-inning guy in trade-acquisition Ernesto Frieri.

    He stumbled a bit down the stretch, though, posting a 3.91 ERA and converting 11-of-14 save chances over the season's final two months after going a perfect 12-of-12 with a 1.47 ERA leading up to that. As a result, his hold on the closer role is questionable at best.

    The Angels will look for relief pitching on the free-agent market, and according to Ken Rosenthal, the team will look to "acquire the best bullpen arms they can find" regardless of whether or not they are a proven closer.

    Japanese free agent Kyuji Fujikawa and Indians closer Chris Perez were pointed to by Rosenthal as two legitimate closers the team could pursue.

Oakland Athletics: 'Mildly Intrigued' by Japanese Shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima

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    Last offseason, the New York Yankees won the right to negotiate with Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima with a $2 million posting fee, but the two sides were unable to reach an agreement.

    The 30-year-old has a .310/.381/.474, 104 home runs, 514 RBI line over the past six seasons with the Seibu Lions, and he is now free to sign with whatever team he likes. So far, the Diamondbacks and A's are both "mildly intrigued," according to Ken Rosenthal.

Seattle Mariners: Eyeing Free Agent Josh Hamilton

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    After ranking last in the American League in batting average, on-base percentage and runs scored last season, the Mariners are understandably targeting offense in free agency, and according to Jon Heyman, they could make a run at Josh Hamilton.

    Larry Stone of The Seattle Times wrote last week that he believes Hamilton's seven-year, $175 million asking price will be too steep for the Mariners, but if he came down to four or five years at $20 to $25 million, he could be a more realistic target for Seattle.

Texas Rangers: Considering Russell Martin at Catcher

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    With Mike Napoli likely playing elsewhere in 2013, the Rangers are currently slated to open the season with Geovany Soto as their starting catcher, so they are understandably working the free-agent market for a backstop.

    Buster Olney tweeted that the team is considering Russell Martin to fill the void, aptly calling this time of the offseason a "catcher's game of musical chairs."

    Martin hit just .211 this past season, but he still has plus power, as he hit 21 home runs with 53 RBI over 422 at-bats as the Yankees' primary catcher.

Atlanta Braves: B.J. Upton Is Team's Top Free-Agent Target

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    The Braves have seemingly accepted the fact that they won't be able to afford center fielder Michael Bourn this offseason, and according to Mark Bowman of, the team has identified B.J. Upton as their top free-agent target.

    While he underperformed throughout his time in Tampa, Upton is entering the prime of his career. Given a change of scenery and a better supporting cast, he has huge upside.

Miami Marlins: Looking to Deal Logan Morrison and Ricky Nolasco

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    Despite how it appears, the Marlins do in fact still have some players under contract following their blockbuster deal with the Blue Jays, but according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, they may not be done dealing.

    The team is reportedly now shopping first baseman/outfielder Logan Morrison and starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco, as it appears that Giancarlo Stanton is the only person guaranteed to be a part of the team's 2013 roster. 

New York Mets: Working to Re-Sign Stars, Exploring Trade Market in Process

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    With very little money to spend in free agency this season, the Mets have focused primarily on trying to re-sign stars David Wright and R.A. Dickey, who are both set to hit free agency at the end of the 2013 season.

    According to a tweet from Andy McCullough of the Star Ledger, team owner Jeff Wilpon said the team remains focused on re-signing the duo but would "be remiss to not explore the trade market in the process," as they could look to deal one or both guys.

Philadelphia Phillies: Open to Anything in Search for a Third Baseman

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    The Phillies began their offseason with a flurry of option decisions to make. One casualty of the process was third baseman Placido Polanco, who had his $5.5 million option bought out for $1 million (via ESPN), leaving the Phillies without a proven third baseman.

    According to a tweet from Ken Rosenthal, the team is "wide open" in their search for an answer at third base. They are considering guys who can play multiple positions (such as Jeff Keppinger and Marco Scutaro) as well as a more traditional option in Kevin Youkilis.

Washington Nationals: Re-Signing Adam LaRoche Is Top Priority

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    A year after he hit just .172 with three home runs and 15 RBI in an injury-filled season, Adam LaRoche saw his stock soar, hitting .271 with 33 home runs and 100 RBI in the middle of the Nationals order in 2012.

    He turned down his end of a mutual option in favor of pursuing a multi-year deal, and according to a tweet from Jim Bowden of ESPN, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo has named bringing LaRoche back as the team's No. 1 priority this offseason.

Chicago Cubs: Interested in Starters Brandon McCarthy and Shaun Marcum

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    The Cubs' biggest offseason need is undoubtedly starting pitching, and they already added one arm when they signed Scott Baker to a one-year, $5.5 million deal (via ESPN).

    The team will likely look to add at least one more veteran arm, and according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, the team is interested in free-agent right-handers Brandon McCarthy and Shaun Marcum as they look to fill out their rotation (via CBS Sports).

Cincinnati Reds: Team Open to Trading Zack Cozart or Didi Gregorius

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    The Reds handed starting-shortstop duties over to Zack Cozart last season, and the 26-year-old hit .246 with 15 home runs and 35 RBI over 561 at-bats while playing terrific defense.

    Despite those solid numbers, the Reds are open to trading either Cozart or shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius if it brings them a capable leadoff hitter or a closer, GM Walt Jocketty told Jon Morosi of Fox Sports.

Milwaukee Brewers: Interested in Free Agent Ryan Dempster

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    Between his time with the Reds and Cubs, Ryan Dempster spent 11 seasons in the NL Central before being traded to the Rangers at the deadline last season. Now, it appears there is a chance he could be headed back to the division where he's spent the bulk of his career.

    According to Ken Rosenthal, the Brewers are interested in adding the 35-year-old right-hander, and he has a 2.66 ERA in 101.1 career innings at Miller Park, according to the report. 

Pittsburgh Pirates: Team Will Look for Low-Cost Veterans to Fill out Rotation

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    The Pirates will open the season with A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez atop their rotation, and while they won't look to add another front-line guy, they are in the market for a veteran to fill out the back end of their rotation.

    Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune listed Kevin Millwood, Tim Stauffer, Chris Young, Carlos Villanueva, Jeff Francis and Jeremy Guthrie as potential fits to join the Pittsburgh rotation.

St. Louis Cardinals: Could Asdrubal Cabrera Be a Potential Trade Target?

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    After he provided a spark after being acquired at the deadline in 2011, the Cardinals re-signed veteran Rafael Furcal to a two-year deal last offseason.

    However, a torn elbow ligament abruptly ended his season, and he is a question mark for the 2013 season as well. That could lead the Cardinals to search for a shortstop on the trade market, and Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that the team could make a run at Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Rays Could Emerge as Top Trade Partner for Justin Upton

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    The Diamondbacks continue to entertain trade offers for right fielder Justin Upton, and while the Rangers were viewed as the ideal trade partner, they remain unwilling to deal either Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar, according to Ken Rosenthal.

    Rosenthal goes on to say that with the Rangers seemingly out, the Rays could emerge as the front-runners to land Upton. Given their wealth of starting pitching and a shortstop prospect in Hak-Ju Lee, they should be able to put together an attractive trade package, and they certainly have a need.

Colorado Rockies: Could Again Show Interest in Ricky Nolasco

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    The Rockies continue to search for answers in the starting rotation; they posted a 5.22 ERA as a team last season and lack anything in the way of a proven ace.

    They showed interest in the Marlins' Ricky Nolasco last winter, and with the Marlins shopping the right-hander, they will likely inquire on him again this winter, tweeted Troy Renck of the Denver Post.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang Could Be Put on the Block

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    The Dodgers continue to spend, and they won the negotiating right to Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu with a $25.7 million posting fee.

    If the team is able to sign him, Ken Gurnick of reports that they could put Chris Capuano or Aaron Harang on the trade market, as they'd have an abundance of starting pitching and could certainly stand to shed some salary.

San Diego Padres: Dan Haren Atop Team's Offseason Wish List?

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    Padres GM Josh Byrnes has reportedly put together a list of eight to 10 pitchers who he feels are legitimate options for the team to sign this offseason.

    According to the report from Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Byrnes identified Haren as one of the targeted pitchers. Coming off a 12-13 year with a 4.33 ERA, Haren is looking for a bounce-back season, and the spacious Petco Park may be just the place for him to do that.

San Francisco Giants: Re-Signing Marco Scutaro Could Be Team's Next Move

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    After re-upping with reliever Jeremy Affeldt on a three-year, $18 million deal, the Giants will likely now turn their attention to bringing back postseason hero Marco Scutaro, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.

    Scutaro, who will be 37 next season, hit .362 with three home runs and 44 RBI in 61 games with the Giants after coming over at the deadline from the Rockies.