MLB Rumors: The Loudest Trade Buzz, Free Agency Updates for Every Team
Over the past week, a handful of rumors we have been keeping tabs on transformed from rumor to fact in the blink of an eye.
Zack Greinke and Dan Haren are no longer free agents and James Shields is no longer a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.
To say that things have been hectic would be, well, a gross understatement.
The best part of it all, of course, is that we are only just getting started.
There is plenty of action on the horizon in the Hot Stove League.
Let's take a look at what might be going down with your favorite team.
Rick Weiner is a Featured Columnist covering all of Major League Baseball and a member of Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team.
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After missing out on landing Zack Greinke, the Rangers now cast their gaze elsewhere in their efforts to upgrade their starting rotation.
It wasn't any secret that he (Greinke) was someone that we had interest in. It's a pretty short list of starters that we're pursuing. We feel we have four guys [Matt Harrison, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Alexi Ogando] in our rotation that we like a lot, along with Colby Lewis hopefully coming back [from flexor tendon surgery] in the first half of the season, plus a couple of young guys [Martin Perez, Justin Grimm] that we like. We'd like to add to our starting depth and we'd like to acquire an impact guy. But we're not casting a wide net to add a starter at any cost.
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman says that short list might include free agent starters Anibal Sanchez and Kyle Lohse, while Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets that the Rangers are willing to part with Mike Olt in a deal to acquire R.A. Dickey from the Mets—though Olt alone will not cut it:
Sources: Texas expressed willingness to Mets to move Olt for Dickey. BUT I'm told it will take more than just Olt for Mets to move Dickey.— Andy Martino (@MartinoNYDN) December 9, 2012
But pitching is not the only thing that Daniels and the Rangers are looking to do.
Arizona right fielder Justin Upton remains their object of desire, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal:
Rosenthal adds that Rangers almost acquired Upton at the winter meetings as part of a three-team deal with the Diamondbacks and Indians.
The key parts in the deal were Upton coming to Texas, SS Asdrubal Cabrera going to Arizona, and 3B Mike Olt and either RHP Trevor Bauer or LHP Patrick Corbin heading to Cleveland.
Why talks broke off remains to be seen.
Upton, 26, would essentially replace Josh Hamilton in the middle of the Rangers' lineup—though as Daniels told Heyman, the team has not closed the door on the Josh Hamilton era just yet:
to question of whether hes had "final conversation'' w/ josh hamilton, rangers gm jon daniels answers with one word, "no"— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 9, 2012
Not satisfied with any of the team's current options behind the plate, Daniels told Heyman that he is looking for a backstop as well:
daniels said #rangers still seek to acquire a catcher.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 9, 2012
Texas has interest in free agent A.J. Pierzynski, according to Rosenthal. The free agent's left-handed bat would be a nice addition to a lineup that is predominantly right-handed.
After losing Mike Napoli to the Red Sox, Texas is left with three catchers on the 40-man roster: Geovany Soto, Luis Martinez and Konrad Schmidt, who hit a combined .179 with five home runs and 27 RBI over 173 at-bats for the Rangers in 2012.
Tony Medina/Getty Images
There has been one burning question in Oakland since the Hot Stove League began to heat up—who is the starting shortstop for the A's?
It very well might be the guy who finished the 2012 season there, Stephen Drew (via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle):
A major-league executive tells me he believes Stephen Drew will sign with #Athletics for one year with an additional player option for '14.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) December 6, 2012
Drew, who turns 30 in March, hit .250 with five home runs and 16 RBI in 39 games for the A's after being acquired at the trade deadline from the Arizona Diamondbacks. He struggled in the ALDS against the Detroit Tigers, hitting only .211 (4-for-19) with two RBI.
If a reunion with Drew is not in the cards, a deal could be struck for Detroit's Jhonny Peralta, says Slusser, but she points out that there is no obvious fit between the two clubs. The Tigers are looking for a right-hand bat for their outfield and have no interest in Michael Taylor, the only outfielder the A's could afford to lose.
One player we can definitely cross off the list as a possibility is Miami's Yunel Escobar, who, as CBS Sports' Danny Knobler notes, Oakland has now decided against trading for twice this year:
The A's once again thought long and hard about Escobar (as they did in July), and once again decided against getting him.— DKnobler (@DKnobler) December 5, 2012
Los Angeles Angels
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
With Zack Greinke officially not an option, let's take a look at the Angels' starting rotation heading into 2013:
|No. 1:||Jered Weaver|
|No. 2:||C.J. Wilson|
|No. 3:||Tommy Hanson|
|No. 4:||Garrett Richards|
|No. 5:||Joe Blanton|
Is it just me, or does that rotation leave something to be desired? Are the Angels actually done adding starters to the mix?
Before Zack Greinke officially became a member of the Dodgers, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that the team had turned its attention from retaining their own free agent, instead toying with the idea of adding two pitchers for less than what it would—and ultimately did—cost to sign Greinke:
#Angels seem - repeat, seem - more focused on tier of starting pitchers below Greinke. Could sign two for less than what Greinke might get.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 5, 2012
Mike DiGiovana of the Los Angeles Times said the Halos had, at one point or another, checked in on nearly every quality arm that sat on the second tier of available free agent starters after Greinke:
#Angels have checked in on virtually every SP: Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse, Edwin Jackson, Ryan Dempster, Joe Saunders. Greinke first choice.— Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) December 4, 2012
With more questions than answers in the rotation as it sits now, it would not be surprising to see the team add another veteran arm to the mix.
David Banks/Getty Images
Signing Josh Hamilton remains Seattle's top priority.
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the team is prepared to pay Hamilton well to call the Emerald City home in 2013 and beyond:
Sources: #Mariners have discussed three-year deals with Hamilton in range of $20M to $25M per season.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2012
Yet ESPN's Jayson Stark cites some unnamed sources around the league who say that while Seattle is on the money with annual value, they remain off the mark in terms of contract length:
They portray Hamilton and his agent, Michael Moye, as still holding out for a six-year or seven-year contract, in the neighborhood of $25 million a year. And those same folks are theorizing that Moye and Hamilton are finding it very difficult to jump at a shorter deal, for a lot fewer total dollars than marquee free agents have been used to commanding in recent years, especially in an $8 billion industry.
Should the team's negotiations with Hamilton wind up bearing no fruit, the Mariners are keeping the lines of communication open elsewhere.
According to Rosenthal, they have spoken with representatives for free agent outfielder Cody Ross, while CBS Sports' Danny Knobler tweets that the M's briefly discussed a deal to bring Colorado center fielder Dexter Fowler to Seattle:
Mariners have also checked in on Fowler. But he seems to be a backup plan for them— DKnobler (@DKnobler) December 7, 2012
The truth of the matter is that if they do not land Hamilton, anyone else they may acquire, whether it be via trade or free agency, can't help but be viewed as disappointing when the team was right there on one of the premier sluggers in the game today.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Now members of the American League West, something that is going to take a lot of getting used to saying, not much for the Houston Astros has changed since we last checked in.
The team is still searching for a veteran to serve as their full-time designated hitter, with former Astros' star Lance Berkman their top choice for the role.
From CBS Sports' Jon Heyman:
#astros looking for dh. Berkman possible if price is right. carlos pena and hafner could be in mix— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 3, 2012
Comcast SportsNet Houston caught up with Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow during the recently concluded Winter Meetings in Nashville and asked about where things stood with their pursuit of their former All-Star:
We have discussed it and we have touched base with Lance's agent and we've also talked to Lance. It's not something that's too far along now but I think sometime before Christmas or early next year is when we'd like to maybe get it to a conclusion. Because one way or another we're gonna need a DH on opening day.
Berkman, who spent most of the 2012 season on the disabled list for the St. Louis Cardinals, was a five-time All-Star with the Astros, hitting .296 with a .959 OPS and 360 home runs over parts of 12 seasons with the club.
Chicago White Sox
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Outfielders Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza are both available in the right deal, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (subscription required).
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn is said to have had discussions with the Seattle Mariners about a trade involving the 23-year-old Viciedo, while the Cincinnati Reds were said to have interest in the speedy De Aza, 28.
It is surprising that they would be willing to move Viciedo.
While he strikes out entirely too often and seems to have a terrible allergy to taking walks (he has a total of 39 free passes in more than 700 career plate appearances), Viciedo hit 25 home runs in 2012 and still has tremendous upside.
The team is also in the market for another relief pitcher, someone to fill the shoes of current free agent Brett Myers, as Hahn explains to CSN Chicago's Dan Hayes:
It’s something we talked to other clubs and free agents about. And it’s sort of that Brett Myers’ role is where the vacancy is. It’s internal candidates, whether it’s (Brian) Omogrosso or (Jhan) Marinez, who had a wonderful year at Triple-A who could step in and will be given the opportunity in Glendale to fill that role. But we may bring in someone from the outside, too.
Marinez pitched to a 2.86 ERA and 1.10 WHIP, walking 30 and striking out 65 in more than 63 innings of work at Triple-A last year, while Omogrosso appeared in 17 games for Chicago in 2012, posting a 2.57 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and 18 strikeouts in 21 innings out of the major league bullpen.
Cleveland has already signed Mark Reynolds to play first base (h/t MLB.com), a decent start to the offseason for the Indians.
They continue to wait on free agent Kevin Youkilis to make a decision on whether he wants to play for new Indians' skipper Terry Francona once again, per the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Terry Pluto:
I checked on the report of the 2-year, $18M Tribe offer to Youk. It could be a little higher than $18M for 2.— Terry Pluto (@terrypluto) December 7, 2012
A deal involving All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is something the Indians continue to pursue, tweets Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal :
The Indians have checked in on Dodgers' speedster Dee Gordon as a potential replacement, sources told Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi.
It would not be ideal as he has nothing to offer from a power perspective, but it is possible that the Indians could trade for Gordon, keep Cabrera at shortstop and see how Gordon does in left field. His speed is significant enough that it may be worth a shot.
Speaking of the outfield, after being turned down by Shane Victorino, who took a shorter contract with a higher annual salary from the Red Sox (h/t Fox Sports), Cleveland has turned their attention elsewhere.
Former Yankees' right fielder Nick Swisher, to be exact.
Per ESPN's Jim Bowden:
Indians hoping to sign Nick Swisher for 4yrs $48-$50m...but market shift has him looking for 4yrs $60m— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) December 7, 2012
Swisher is a phenomenal clubhouse influence who can play all three spots in the outfield as well as first base, and that combination of leadership and versatility makes him a very intriguing player for Francona and the Tribe.
On the pitching front, the Indians remain interested in bringing Roberto Hernandez back. Though as the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes notes, they are not the only team interested in the 32-year-old's services:
Hernandez, who has made a total of 35 starts since the end of the 2010 season, has pitched to a 5.41 ERA and 1.40 WHIP over the last two years.
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Jhonny Peralta could be available in the right deal, and that deal could be for Oakland A's switch-hitting infielder Jemile Weeks, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser.
Slusser says Weeks—who may or may not actually be available—would not be bought into the Motor City to play the infield. Instead, the Tigers would try him out as part of a platoon in the outfield, satisfying their desire for a right-handed hitting outfielder.
While youngster Bruce Rondon figures to get a legitimate shot to win the vacant closer role in Detroit this spring, ESPN's Buster Olney says that the Tigers are looking for some insurance in case he fails to impress:
Detroit has been targeting relievers capable of closing in trade talks.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 7, 2012
As for free agent relievers, MLB Network's Peter Gammons says that we can cross Rafael Soriano off of the Tigers' list:
Tiger official:"Soriano ain't happening with us"— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) December 4, 2012
Kansas City Royals
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It was costly to acquire, but the Kansas City Royals finally got the ace pitcher that they desperately sought this winter.
Kansas City traded their top hitting prospect, OF Wil Myers, their top pitching prospect, RHP Jake Odorizzi, their former top pitching prospect, LHP Mike Montgomery and 3B Patrick Leonard to Tampa Bay in exchange for RHPs James Shields and Wade Davis.
Coupled with the other deals that the team has made thus far this offseason, Kansas City's rotation doesn't look half bad.
|No. 1:||James Shields|
|No. 2:||Jeremy Guthrie|
|No. 3:||Ervin Santana|
|No. 4:||Wade Davis|
|No. 5:||Bruce Chen|
There's substantial risk involved, not only because the players the Royals surrendered have significant upside, but because their window of opportunity with Shields isn't very long, per Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports:
Royals get seven years of control – two on Shields (’14 club option) and five on Davis (’16 and ’17 club options).— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 10, 2012
With the exception of a veteran bat for the bench, which currently consists of C Brett Hayes, 2B Johnny Giavotella, super-utility man Irving Falu and OF Jarrod Dyson, things figure to be pretty quiet with the Royals from this point forward.
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Minnesota has been busy, dealing away outfielders Ben Revere and Denard Span in exchange for pitching to bolster their beleaguered staff.
But as game manager Terry Ryan told MLB Network, the Twins are not ruling anything out if it will result in the team improving, and that includes moving 1B Justin Morneau and C Joe Mauer, two players that Ryan said are available during his appearance on MLB Network Radio last week.
I think we'd have to. We've lost over 90 games the last two years. For me to sit here and tell you that we shouldn't listen would be a bad thing for an organization. We have to listen. I think it's safe to say if you don't pitch, you don't play.
Whether the team could get what it believes is fair value for the pair—or LF Josh Willingham, always a popular target of other teams in trade talks, remains to be seen.
As for the pitching staff, fans who were hoping for a reunion with Francisco Liriano will want to skip past what the Star Tribune's LaVelle E. Neal III is tweeting:
It is time for Minnesota to finalize their divorce with Liriano, who has not posted an ERA below five since 2010. He is simply not the pitcher that he once was, and he does not help the team move back towards respectability—or the playoffs.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
With Mark Reynolds now in Cleveland, the Orioles are in need of a first baseman and a bat with power (h/t MASN Sports).
To me, that screams Nick Swisher, though as MASN Sports' Roch Kubatko notes, the Orioles don't view Swisher as a viable option:
Duquette said doesn't need anymore OFs. Dismissed Nick Swisher as possibility for OF and 1B— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) December 6, 2012
Baltimore did sign 30-year-old 1B Conor Jackson (pictured above) to a minor league deal (h/t MASN Sports), but he hasn't played in the major leagues since 2011, when he hit .244 with five home runs and 43 RBI in nearly 400 at-bats for the Oakland A's and Boston Red Sox.
Boston Red Sox
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It is all about upgrading the starting rotation in Boston.
Kyle Lohse could be a fit if he would be willing to accept a three-year deal, writes ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes, who also reminds us that one free agent starter already told the Red Sox that he did not want their money:
Red Sox offered pitcher Ryan Dempster a two-year, $25 million deal and were turned down, according to source. Story posting soon.— Gordon Edes (@GordonEdes) December 8, 2012
Free agency is not the only avenue that the Red Sox are exploring however, as CSNPhilly's Jim Salisbury says that Boston was rebuffed by Philadelphia when they approached the Phillies about a Jacoby Ellsbury-for-Cliff Lee deal.
As for their pursuit of R.A. Dickey, nothing has changed on that front since last week, when ESPN's Adam Rubin and Joe McDonald reported that the Mets were asking for outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. and shortstop Xander Boegarts in exchange.
New York Yankees
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After blowing it with Russell Martin and faced with the reality that is starting the 2013 season with either Francisco Cervelli or Austin Romine as the full-time catcher, the Yankees are dragging their feet on quality veteran options:
#yankees hesitating on pierzynski because they view him as only average defender. AJ had big yr but market a mystery
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 8, 2012
I am not saying that Pierzynski is on the same level offensively as this guy, but the Yankees did pretty well with another average defender behind the plate for more than a decade in Jorge Posada, so their reasoning seems a little shaky.
As for rumors that the Yankees are getting involved in the Josh Hamilton sweepstakes, landing the slugger is nothing more than a dream at this point:
#yankees not involved with hamilton at this point. hear they'd only consider if fell into lap at low #. not happening.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 9, 2012
While Hamilton would continue to put up monster numbers were he to call Yankee Stadium home, between the intense spotlight and the temptation that comes along with living and playing in New York, I am of the belief that Hamilton in pinstripes would be a nightmare scenario for all parties involved.
Not to be outdone by Heyman, ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand tweets that the Bombers remain open to moving some significant pieces in an effort to get younger, more athletic and less expensive players:
Yankees are listening to offers on Granderson, Hughes and Nova— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) December 6, 2012
With no team in baseball willing to do the Yankees any favors, it makes sense that they would dangle two relatively young arms in Hughes and Nova along with Granderson, though it would likely take a sizable return for them to move one of them, much less two or the whole trio.
Tampa Bay Rays
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Trading away "Big Game" James Shields is never an easy decision to make, but when the Tampa Bay Rays did that on Sunday the haul they bought back was considerable.
Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times:
The key in the deal is Myers, a 23-year-old outfielder who projects as a big-time bat in the middle of Tampa Bay's lineup who they can pair with Evan Longoria for years to come.
Splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A last season, Myers hit a combined .314 with a .987 OPS, 37 home runs and 109 RBI.
Dealing Shields over any of the other arms in Tampa's system was the way to go, as his value was never going to be higher than it was right now, with two years left on his current deal.
CBS Sports' Danny Knobler tweets that the Rays are still "poking around for a catcher," though there is no truth to the rumor that the Reds were considering a deal with Tampa that involved Devin Mesoraco.
Toronto Blue Jays
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ESPN's Buster Olney says the Blue Jays remain one of the favorites to land NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey should the Mets decide to move him.
His CBS Sports' counterpart, Jon Heyman, tweets that while the Mets desperately need a full-time catcher, Travis d'Arnaud wouldn't be a part of a potential deal for Dickey:
Would a package of OF Anthony Gose and C J.P. Arencibia be enough to land the knuckle-balling ace?
Perhaps it would, and with the Blue Jays' glut of catchers, it makes sense that Arencibia would be available in the right deal.
Emilio Bonifacio, acquired in Toronto's blockbuster trade with Miami last month and currently slotted to be the team's starting second baseman, could be on the move again, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
#Braves interested in Bonifaciobefore got traded by MIA (Fredi G. had him w/Marlins), didn't know til this wk he might still be available
— David O'Brien (@ajcbraves) December 5, 2012
Even after trading away Tommy Hanson, the Braves still have some quality pitching that they could afford to move, though Bonifacio certainly would not be enough to land prospect Julio Teheran from Atlanta.
Josh Hedges/Getty Images
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports says that the Texas Rangers continue to pursue a deal for Justin Upton, while as far as anyone can tell, Arizona hasn't budged off of it's demands that either Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar be part of any package the Rangers would send them in exchange.
A deal involving Cleveland Indians All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera remains a possibility, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal :
We have to assume that Upton's name is coming up in those talks as well as he would fit a major need for the Tribe.
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images
Let's get this one out of the way first.
Colorado is not going to trade either Carlos Gonzalez or Troy Tulowitzki, a stance the Rockies firmly stuck with at the Winter Meetings last week in Nashville, per ESPN's Jayson Stark:
Meant to get to this in Nashville: Quite a few teams have asked #Rockies about Carlos Gonzalez. All were told CarGo & Tulo going nowhere— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 7, 2012
As for center fielder Dexter Fowler, the answer is not quite as simple, via the Denver Post's Troy Renck:
Talks w phillies and Rockies never got serious regarding Fowler. Reds' talks could pick up. But Rox demands havent changed— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) December 7, 2012
Those demands, according to Renck, are RHP Mike Leake and at least two other prospects.
Going by what the Rockies were said to be asking for in exchange for Fowler from the Atlanta Braves, those two other prospects were likely high-end pitching prospects.
In a previous piece, Renck wrote that the Rockies were asking for LHP Mike Minor and either Atlanta's top pitching prospect, RHP Julio Teheran or RHP Randall Delgado, another highly thought of youngster.
While Fowler is talented and coming off of his breakout season, it is apparent by Colorado's demands that they'd have to be overwhelmed to let him go.
Dexter Fowler is not quite as available as some would lead you to believe.
Los Angeles Dodgers
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ESPN's Buster Olney tweets veteran Chris Capuano is drawing interest:
An evaluator on Chris Capuano:"He's going to have more value to a National League team." LAD has talked to Pirates;Milw a nice fit on paper.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 10, 2012
CBS Sports' Danny Knobler writes that the Dodgers made it abundantly clear to teams at last week's Winter Meetings that both Capuano and Aaron Harang were readily available.
But could moving the pair of veterans be a precursor to the Dodgers adding yet another arm to the rotation?
Knobler goes on to say that the Dodgers cannot be counted out of the Anibal Sanchez sweepstakes, noting: "The Dodgers have seemed to be the one team that could be willing to meet Sanchez's asking price (said to be as much as $90 million.)"
Olney does not see it happening (via Twitter), but with the Dodgers' new owners seemingly able to grow money on trees, anything is possible.
San Francisco Giants
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In what could be a case of Scott Boras simply trying to generate false interest for his clients in the press, the uber-agent claims to have had discussions with the Giants about the pair of closers he represents.
Per the San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea (via Twitter):
Scott Boras told SF Chron he spoke with Larry Baer about #SFGiants' closer role. Boras clients: Rafael Soriano, Jose Valverde.
— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) December 6, 2012
While adding an established closer makes some sense, what Boras is seeking in annual salary for his clients as he told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, is ridiculous:
We're seeing mid-level players (Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino) make $13 million a year. The value of a closer, you would have to argue, has historically been more valuable than what you see in mid-level players.
San Francisco currently has Sergio Romo slotted in the closer position, and he did quite well in the ninth inning last year for the defending World Series Champions.
Romo converted 15-of-his-16 save chances, pitching to a 2.21 ERA and 0.84 ERA from June 1 through the end of the regular season.
San Diego Padres
David Welker/Getty Images
While the Padres left the Winter Meetings with the same roster as they had when they landed in Nashville, it was not for a lack of trying.
Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune held court with Padres fans during an online chat and bought us all up to speed on what's going on in San Diego.
The Padres wanted to sign Dan Haren and Joe Blanton, but the deals they landed—Haren $13 million for one season in Washington and Blantion's two-year, $15 million deal with the Angels was simply more than the Padres were willing to give.
San Diego continues to dangle pieces from their bullpen, middle infield depth and Jesus Guzman as trade bait in an attempt to land another starting pitcher.
So far, those efforts have not bore any fruit.
Finally, the Padres remain interested in free agent RHP Shaun Marcum, though price will be the ultimate factor in any deal that San Diego makes.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
According to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, the Atlanta Braves are looking to become MLB's equivalent of the Kentucky Wildcats Men's Basketball Team:
#Braves GM Frank Wren said the team has interest in some one-year outfield stopgaps. He calls them "Caliparis.''— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) December 7, 2012
Those "Caliparis" do not have to be natural outfielders either, according to Crasnick's ESPN colleague Jayson Stark:
Gordon does not offer much besides speed, but that is certainly a need for the Braves with the departure of Michael Bourn from atop their lineup.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
A reunion with starting pitcher Carl Pavano could be in the works at the right price, as Phil Mackey of ESPN 1500 AM tweets:
Pavano, who turns 37 years old next month, made only 11 starts for the Minnesota Twins in 2012, going 2-5 with a 6.00 ERA and 1.40 WHIP.
A member of the Marlins from 2002-2004, Pavano threw to a 3.64 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 86 games during his time in Florida.
Pavano was a 17-game winner for the Twins as recently as the 2010 season so if he is healthy, there is a chance that this could be a low-risk, high-reward signing for Miami.
Miami is also in the market for a third baseman, and they have interest in Atlanta's Juan Francisco (per CBS Sports' Danny Knobler) as well as free agent Jack Hannahan, according to Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi.
New York Mets
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets that the Mets could have acquired Wil Myers and a similar package of prospects that Kansas City traded to Tampa Bay in exchange for James Shields and Wade Davis, though what the Mets would have had to give up did not use initials in his first name:
This deal was on the table for Mets last week, per source: Niese and Wheeler to KC for Myers and similar package to what TB got for Shields.— Andy Martino (@MartinoNYDN) December 10, 2012
While Myers is a big-time prospect who's bat would have helped the Mets for years to come, that is an awfully high price to pay.
As for R.A. Dickey, ESPN's Jim Bowden tweets that nothing has changed in the Mets' efforts to work out an extension with the wizard of the knuckleball.
According to a Mets source....the Mets have not spoken to R.A. Dickey's representatives since Thursday morning in Nashville #NoProgress— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) December 10, 2012
— Ken Davidoff (@KenDavidoff) December 9, 2012
In an earlier piece, Martino noted that Dickey is asking for an extension in the neighborhood of $26 million over two years, a number that the Mets refuse to match.
ESPN's Buster Olney is right on the money with this tweet:
Given the current market -- from Greinke getting $147m to Joe Blanton getting 2/15m -- extension request by Dickey looks very reasonable.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 9, 2012
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Either Josh Hamilton, Nick Swisher or Cody Ross will be a member of the Philadelphia Phillies outfield in 2013, according the the Philadelphia Inquirer's Matt Gelb.
With roughly $20 million available to spend, Swisher and Ross are both well within striking distance from a salary standpoint, while that figure comes in on the low end of what Hamilton is thought to be seeking.
Gelb was not grasping at straws either.
Phillies' manager Charlie Manuel told Gelb that he is trying to work his magic with game manager Rueben Amaro Jr:
I've been quiet about it. I've just sat there because I like, so far, what we've done. I think we've made two good acquisitions to our team. I think we'll just wait and see. Our organization has always tried to improve our team. If there is any way we can, I think that's what we're going to do.
I'm always going to fish. Of course I want him to get something big. At the same time, I think we've gotten much better. (Michael) Young is definitely going to help us and so is Ben (Revere).
Amaro did not deny that adding a power bat is something that he would like to do:
We'd love to add more home runs. But for me, again, it's about production. If we can produce runs – and I know that Ben can and I know that Michael can – and we have to get production out of the middle of our lineup. The guys we've paid to produce those runs. If we can get complementary [production] from Ben and Michael and get the kind of production we expect out of Ryan [Howard] and Chase [Utley], I think we're going to be fine.
Revere and Young can produce runs, but they have no power, hitting a combined eight home runs in 2012. Adding one of the three aforementioned bats—Hamilton's specifically—would be a tremendous addition to Philadelphia's lineup.
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Who is on first in Washington?
That is a question that we should have an answer to sooner, rather than later, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post:
Multiple team officials say the Nats have an informal deadline to resolve Adam LaRoche's situation by Christmas. Nats optimistic he signs.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) December 6, 2012
The stalemate in negotiations between the Nationals and their first baseman is not so much money as it is job security, with LaRoche holding out for a longer deal.
ESPN's Jim Bowden tweets that LaRoche will be waiting a long time for Washington to give him what he wants:
Nats not going to budge on Adam LaRoche.. are not going past 2 years...just like they wouldn't go to 4th year on Buehrle last year
— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) December 6, 2012
Should the Nationals get LaRoche signed, 1B/OF Michael Morse will become available via trade.
Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi tweets that the Mariners have legitimate interest in him, while Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's Andrew Baggarly believes that the Giants are a logical trade partner with Washington.
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As first reported by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs have signed Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa to a \ two-year, $9.5MM contract includes a club/vesting option for 2015.
Fujikawa, 32, has spent the last six years of his career with Japan's Hanshin Tigers, saving 202 games while posting a 1.36 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 12.4 K/9, and 2.3 BB/9 over nearly 370 innings of work.
Outside of that signing, things remain relatively quiet for the Cubbies right now as Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer continue to be methodical in their slow-and-steady rebuilding process.
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Cincinnati has interest in trading for Colorado Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler, who fill Cincinnati's need for a solid leadoff hitter, but as the Denver Post's Troy Renck notes,
Talks w phillies and Rockies never got serious regarding Fowler. Reds' talks could pick up. But Rox demands havent changed— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) December 7, 2012
Those demands include RHP Mike Leake and at least two other prospects, according to Renck,
Fowler would solve a lot of problems for the Reds and could put up monster numbers with Cincinnati's powerful lineup hitting behind him.
But that is a high price to pay and one that the Reds don't seem interested in pursuing at the current going rate, even for a player like Fowler who still has considerable upside.
Colorado's center fielder isn't the only player that the Reds are targeting, however.
Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (subscription required) reports that the Reds and White Sox have spoken about a deal for White Sox CF and leadoff hitter Alejandro De Aza.
De Aza, 28, had a solid season for the White Sox in 2012, hitting .281 with nine home runs and 50 RBI while going 26-for-38 on stolen base attempts.
It's unclear what Chicago may be seeking in return, but if their asking price is more reasonable than Colorado's, the Reds may have found their leadoff hitter for the foreseeable future.
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Brewers game manager Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he would not offer free agent pitchers a three-year deal at the money that they are commanding on the open market—and that is the reason that Ryan Dempster is not yet calling Milwaukee home.
The Brewers' beat writer tweets:
#Brewers, Royals and Red Sox interested in Dempster. First to offer three years gets him. Otherwise, hard to say who has inside track.— Tom (@Haudricourt) December 8, 2012
It is understandable why Melvin is hesitant to commit three years to free agent starters, especially after hearing him explain his thinking:
If you're committing to a (free-agent) starting pitcher, then somebody is not going to get a chance, whether it's Fiers or Rogers or Estrada. I want to keep my flexibility, too, if guys become available later. Or if somebody is in a little bit of a slump, you can send him out and have three or four starts and maybe come back. We could bring (Hiram) Burgos or (Tyler) Thornburg up if somebody is struggling.
In this game of chicken, Dempster will have to blink first if he wants to witness the epic sausage races at Miller Park 81 times a year.
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Pittsburgh spent part of their time at the winter meetings in Nashville talking to the Seattle Mariners at length, writes Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
The Pirates were shot down when they offered 1B/OF Garrett Jones to Seattle for pitching prospect Taijuan Walker, but that did not dissuade the two clubs from talking about a multi-player deal.
According to Biertempfel, the deal being discussed would have had Pittsburgh sending Jones and closer Joel Hanrahan to Seattle in exchange for 1B Justin Smoak, C John Jaso and RHP Hector Noesi.
While the Bucs continue to look for ways to tweak things, they bought back an important piece of their bullpen with the re-signing of Jason Grilli to a two-year, $6.75 million contract, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.
In just under 60 innings of work in 2012, Grilli posted a 2.91 ERA while averaging nearly 14 strikeouts per nine innings of work.
St. Louis Cardinals
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It's all about the bench this offseason for the Cardinals.
Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports confirmed as much with this tweet about where St. Louis has their attention focused:
#STLCards want to upgrade with utility infielder. They have discussed free agent Alex Gonzalez and trade options Getz and Lombardozzi.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 6, 2012
Of the three, Steve Lombardozzi of the Washington Nationals would be the most enticing addition for the Cardinals.
Lombardozzi, 24, hit .273 with three home runs and 27 RBI in just over 400 at-bats in 2012. He spent time at second base, third base, shortstop and left field. He was a solid defender at second base and in the outfield, a mediocre-to-average defender at third base and shortstop.
Getz, 29 and Gonzalez, 35, do not offer the same versatility that Lombardozzi does, making them less attractive options.