Results tagged ‘ Winter Meetings ’

Who’s on third for Marlins?

The Marlins, after dealing third baseman Miguel Cabrera to Detroit, are looking for a new third baseman and have contacted the Phillies regarding Wes Helms, who played for Florida in 2006, hitting .329 with 10 homers. The Marlins are also considering free agent Jorge Cantu, who spent last season with Cincinnati.

Helms is due to earn $2.15 million next season, and if the Phils move him, they would need to find another third baseman. Detroit’s Brandon Inge is a potential target, but he is owed $19.1 million over the next three seasons, and it is uncertain if the Tigers would agree to cover a portion of that commitment.

Meanwhile, free agents Mike Lamb and Pedro Feliz are still unsigned, and trade targets include Joe Crede of the Chicago White Sox and Scott Rolen of St. Louis.

Rowand up next

One by one the top free-agent center fielders have been plucked from the market. First Torii Hunter, now Andruw Jones. The bulk of the attention now turns to Aaron Rowand, but his chances of returning to Philadelphia do not look any better than they did before the Winter Meetings.

Phillies general manager Pat Gillick called Rowand’s chances of returning to Philadelphia a "long shot" after a 30-minute meeting with the player’s agent, Craig Landis.

Landis agreed.

"We’re definitely at an impasse," he said. "I don’t predict the future, but I’d say that if they don’t change their position, it’s rather a long shot. That’s a fair assessment on [Gillick’s] part."

Padres, Bradley nearing deal

The Padres and free agent Milton Bradley are close to finalizing a one-year deal to bring the outfielder back to San Diego for another season.

Kuroda list at three

Highly sought after right-hander Hiroki Kuroda has scheduled visits to three U.S. cities — Seattle, Los Angeles and Phoenix.

The 32-year-old Kuroda is believed to have received a four-year offer from the Mariners.

Nationals land Boone, re-sign Pena, Langerhans

The Nationals have signed free-agent third baseman Aaron Boone to a one-year, $1 million contract plus incentives.

Washington also signed outfielder Wily Mo Pena to a one-year extension plus an option for 2009. Ryan Langerhans signed a one-year, $500,000 contract if he makes the Major League team. Otherwise, he will receive $300,000.

Cubs turn focus to Roberts

After they were unsuccessful in their attempts to sign Kazuo Matsui, the Cubs have turned their attention to Baltimore’s All-Star second baseman Brian Roberts.

Roberts hit .290 with 12 homers, 57 RBIs and a .377 on-base percentage during the 2007 season. The switch-hitter would also give the Cubs another left-handed bat they had been seeking. The Orioles are seeking starting pitching and could go after a package that included one or more of the Cubs’ young arms, such as Rich Hill and/or Sean Marshall.

Braves talk to Miller

The Braves have been talking with the agent for free-agent catcher Damian Miller, though GM Frank Wren indicated Atlanta is more likely to find catching help via trade than free agent signing.

Mets eye Marlins utility man

The Mets are interested in Marlins infielder/outfielder Alfredo Amezaga, who hit .263 and scored 46 runs in 133 games during the 2007 season. Amezaga, who turns 30 next month, played all four infield positions and some outfield last season and is eligible for arbitration.

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San Diego third base prospect Chase Headley was at the Winter Meetings on Wednesday and confirmed he’ll be in San Diego next month to get some time in the outfield. Headley, who makes his offseason home in Knoxville, has put on 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason, and is now up to 230.

Headley, the MVP of the Texas League, has been mentioned several times this week by other teams regarding trades. But the Padres are reluctant to move him in or second baseman Matt Antonelli in a deal.

Headley is blocked at the Major League level by Kevin Kouzmanoff but, if he takes well to the outfield, could make the 25-man Opening Day roster because the Padres feel his bat is Major League ready now.

Quick hits

? The Reds aren’t the only team trying to pry right-hander Mark Prior away from the Cubs. Prior, who made $3.575 million last season and is eligible for arbitration one last time before he can be a free agent after 2008, is also being pursued by the Padres, Phillies and Rangers. Prior, who is coming off shoulder surgery, isn’t expected to be ready to pitch until May at the earliest.

? The Dodgers are interested in free-agent center fielder Andruw Jones, but contrary to earlier reports, Jones was not in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Jones is also being pursued by Kansas City.

Apparently the sticking point is the number of years. Both the Dodgers and Royals are seeking short-term deals, while agent Scott Boras is seeking a longer deal for his client.

Asked if anything was imminent, Royals GM Dayton Moore replied: "Naw, I don’t know. There are some things that could happen, but I’m not holding my breath."

? The Reds have yet to enter into any talks with free-agent right-hander Brett Tomko, but they are interested in Glendon Rusch and Jon Lieber.

? The Rangers are looking at free-agent outfielders Milton Bradley and Corey Patterson, relievers LaTroy Hawkins and Eric Gagne and first baseman Sean Casey.

Nothing close on Santana

It’s looking more and more like Johan Santana will not be traded before the Winter Meetings adjourn Thursday.

The Twins had conversations with the Boston Red Sox again Wednesday, but according to sources, nothing was imminent on that front as the Red Sox have been unwilling to come up with what it will take to get the two-time American League Cy Young Award winner.

The Red Sox have offered Minnesota multiple packages. One consists of center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, shortstop Jed Lowrie and right-hander Justin Masterson. The other would consist of lefty Jon Lester, center fielder Coco Crisp, Lowrie and Masterson.

The Twins didn’t blink when the Yankees pulled out of negotiations after their offer of pitcher Phil Hughes, outfielder Melky Cabrera and a prospect for Santana was not accepted. New York’s exit may have opened the door for other teams, including the Mets and Dodgers, to enter the Santana sweepstakes.

The Mets made an offer for Baltimore lefty Erik Bedard on Tuesday and were turned down. Adding Santana to a rotation that already includes Pedro Martinez, Oliver Perez, Orlando Hernandez, John Maine and Mike Pelfrey would give the Mets a formidable staff, but at this point, it is unlikely they have a suitable package to offer Minnesota for Santana.

Reds considering Prior

Cincinnati’s search for arms has the club taking a hard look at Cubs right-hander Mark Prior.

Prior, coming off right shoulder surgery, won’t be able to pitch before May at the earliest, and perhaps not until August. But he is expected to pitch in 2008, and the Cubs have until Dec. 12 to offer him arbitration. He would be eligible for free agency after the 2008 season, so it is understandable, considering that and his health issues, that the Cubs might entertain offers for him, especially if they can address a need.

The Cubs are looking for a left-handed-hitting outfielder. The Reds have a few players who fit the bill, including Josh Hamilton, a player the Cubs claimed in the Rule 5 Draft before trading him to Cincinnati.

Jones in LA

Andruw Jones was in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

The free-agent center fielder flew to the City of Angels on Tuesday, but it is uncertain whether Jones went west on business (like a physical from the Dodgers) or was merely there for an unrelated visit.

The Dodgers met with Jones’ agent, Scott Boras, on Tuesday. The Royals are also among the teams to have made offers to the 10-time Gold Glove Award winner.

Inge drawing interest

Now that Miguel Cabrera is coming to Detroit, the Tigers are listening to offers for third baseman Brandon Inge, with the Dodgers and Phillies among the teams inquiring about Inge. A sticking point might be Inge’s contract and whether the Tigers will pick up part of it, as Inge is owed $19.1 million over the next three seasons.

Blockbuster in the books

Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis are Detroit Tigers, though the trade that brought the two stars to Detroit was not expected to be formally announced until later Wednesday.

The Marlins and Tigers completed the final details Wednesday afternoon on the eight-player trade that will send Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, Mike Rabelo and Minor Leaguers Dallas Trahern, Eulogio De La Cruz and Burke Badenhop to the Marlins.

Rockies, Cook talk

The Rockies and the agent for right-hander Aaron Cook were expected to meet Wednesday to discuss a contract extension of three years and in the $30 million range.

"He is interested, and certainly it is something we are talking about," said agent Joe Bick as he arrived at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center on Wednesday morning.

Just after the World Series, the Rockies picked up Cook?s $4.5 million option for 2008, after Cook completed a two-year, $4.55 million deal. But both sides had been viewing an extension for Cook long before the Rockies exercised the option.

Bick would not say if he thought negotiations would be completed Wednesday, but both sides are optimistic about talks. The Rockies are also looking to offer star outfielder Matt Holliday a multiyear deal.

Quick hits

? Rocky Hall, the agent for free-agent infielder Tadahito Iguchi, was scheduled to meet with the Brewers on Wednesday. The Phillies are also interested in Iguchi.
? Contrary to persistent reports, the Indians insisted again Wednesday that they aren’t talking with the Pirates about acquiring left fielder Jason Bay.
? The Yankees are believed to be the front-runners for free-agent lefty Ron Mahay’s services, with Tampa Bay and Kansas City also in the hunt.

Early Wednesday whispers

While everyone waited for the official announcement of the trade that would send Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to Detroit for Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, Mike Rabelo and Minor Leaguers Dallas Trahern, Eulogio De La Cruz and Burke Badenhop, general managers were busy Wednesday morning focusing on what the deal might mean for other scenarios.

With Cabrera no longer in play, other teams that had been after him, especially the Angels and Dodgers, were considering other third-base options. San Francisco and Milwaukee are also looking for help at third base.

"I think you’ll see more interest in [Baltimore’s Miguel] Tejada and maybe [Scott] Rolen [of St. Louis]," one National League official said. "There’s not much out there on the free-agent market, and those guys wouldn’t cost as much in terms of what you’d probably have to give up."

Tejada is a shortstop but may be moved to third base. Rolen, a multiple Gold Glove winner, is coming off an injury-shortened 2007 season and is owed $36 million over the next three years.

As far as the remaining free-agent third basemen, Mike Lamb and Pedro Feliz appear to be drawing the most interest from the 10 or so still on the market.

Several observers said they wouldn’t be surprised if some of the teams looking for third-base help look for a short-term answer and try to upgrade at other positions where there are more choices.

"At this point, if you’re not going to go after a Rolen or Tejada, you’re probably better off getting that offense [at another position]," the official said.

Cabrera field widens

    Add the Chicago White Sox to the list of teams talking to the Marlins about third baseman Miguel Cabrera.

    The Angels and Dodgers have already had discussions with Florida about Cabrera, and now sources say the White Sox and two other unidentified teams have entered the picture.

Washington eyeing Jennings

    The Nationals have targeted free agent right-hander Jason Jennings as a possible fit for their 2008 rotation.

    Jennings, 29, went 2-9 with a 6.45 ERA in 19 games for Houston in 2007 before his season ended in August due to a tear in the flexor tendon of his right elbow.

He had surgery in late August and is expected to return to the mound in 2008, and officials with several teams have indicated Jennings, if healthy, could help.

    Jennings’ elbow condition is comparable to what Andy Pettitte went through in 2004 and Billy Wagner endured in 2000. Those two lefties underwent surgery to repair flexor tendons and made full recoveries.

    Jennings made $5.5 million last season but might agree to a one-year deal to demonstrate he is healthy in 2008, which would then enable him to enter free agency again coming off a better season next winter.

Monday whispers, Round 2

Dukes to D.C.?

    Rumors were rampant in the lobby of the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center on Monday 200x90_wintermeetings
afternoon that Tampa Bay outfielder Elijah Dukes would soon be heading to the Washington Nationals for a Minor League player to be named.

Cubs, Giants among teams after Fukudome

    Joe Urbon, agent for free-agent outfielder Kosuke Fukudome, was scheduled
to talk with the Chicago Cubs on Monday afternoon and was expected to talk with
the San Francisco Giants.

    Those two teams, along with the White Sox, Padres and Rangers, are interested
in Fukudome, who also has an offer from the Tokyo Giants.

    Fukudome, 30, batted .294 for the Chunichi Dragons in 2007, and has a career on-base percentage of nearly .400 and a career slugging percentage of better than .500. The left-handed hitter was named the Central League’s Most Valuable Player in 2006, when he hit .351 with 31 homers and 104 RBIs. He was limited to 81 games in 2007 before undergoing season-ending surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow.

Seattle out of Santana sweepstakes

    The Mariners, believed to be one of the four teams in the forefront of the chase to land Minnesota left-hander Johan Santana, have dropped out of the discussions.

    A high-ranking American League official confirmed Monday afternoon that the Mariners were no longer discussing a deal for the two-time Cy Young Award winner who becomes eligible for free agency at the end of the 2008 season.

    Seattle, which is trying to bolster its starting rotation, had visions of putting the 29-year-old Santana in the same rotation as 21-year-old Felix Hernandez, giving the Mariners a terrific one-two punch. But the combination of losing some of their top prospects, including projected right fielder Adam Jones, and possibly spending close to $150 million for the left-handed Santana, prompted club officials to back off and pursue starting pitching elsewhere.

    That leaves the Red Sox, Yankees and Angels known to be still in pursuit of Santana, though other teams may be in the picture.

Five teams in on Kuroda

    Right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, a 32-year-old free agent, is being pursued by the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Mariners, Phillies and Royals. Seattle is believed to have offered Kuroda a three-year contract for close to $30 million.

    Kuroda isn’t expected to make a decision until after the Winter Meetings, which end Thursday morning at the Operyland Hotel.

Reds interested in Lincecum

    Cincinnati is apparently interested in San Francisco right-hander Tim Lincecum, but if the Giants insist on Reds outfield prospect Jay Bruce as part of any deal, look for the Reds to back off.

    Bruce, 20, hit a combined .319 with 26 homers and 89 RBIs in 133 games at three Minor League stops in 2007. The left-handed hitting Bruce is considered one of the team’s cornerstones of the future.

Quentin to White Sox

    Arizona is finalizing a deal that would send outfielder Carlos Quentin to the White Sox for Minor League first baseman Chris Carter.

    Carter, who will turn 21 later this month, was ranked among the White Sox top 10 prospects by Baseball America. A 15th-round pick by Chicago in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, he has tremendous power and a good idea of the strike zone.

Finley, "Bus" making the rounds

    Among the handful of free agents in Nashville looking for jobs was Steve Finley, who was spotted roaming the lobby at the Opryland Hotel. Finley, 42, played in 43 games for the Rockies in ’07.

    "I wouldn’t play if I thought I was going to embarrass myself," Finley said.

    Also spotted in the lobby was former NFL running back Jerome Bettis.

Rumblings from Nashville

    Andy Pettitte’s decision to put off retirement for another year and rejoin the New York Yankees in 2008 didn’t end New York’s pursuit of Johan Santana, but the Yankees are apparently adamant about getting an answer from Minnesota no later than Monday regarding the club’s trade offer for the two-time Cy Young Award winner.
PettitteThe Yankees and Twins have been talking about a trade that would send the left-handed Santana to New York for a package that is believed to include pitcher Phil Hughes, outfielder Melky Cabrera and a mid-level Minor League prospect that Minnesota would select from a group.

    Meanwhile, Boston is also in on Santana and are believed to have made offers involving either outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury or left-hander Jon Lester in various combinations. Boston has tried to interest the Twins in outfielder Coco Crisp to no avail.

Plenty of smoke, but no Cabrera fire yet

    Miguel Cabrera continues to be a hot topic at the Winter Meetings but nothing was imminent Monday morning as Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest wasn’t due to arrive at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center until Monday afternoon.

    The Marlins are expected to resume talks with both the Angels and Dodgers regarding Cabrera.

Tony Gwynn Jr. to San Diego?

    The Brewers are pondering whether to move third baseman Ryan Braun to left field, and that prospect has other teams waiting to try to work out a trade with Milwaukee for one of the club’s outfielders if Braun indeed does make the move.

    The Padres would be a natural fit for Tony Gwynn Jr., and if the Brewers make Bill Hall available, he would draw considerable interest.

Washington wants Miller

    The Nationals have free-agent catcher Damian Miller in their sights. In 58 games, Miller, 38, hit .237 with four home runs and 24 RBIs for the Brewers in 2007. The Nationals are looking for catching help after dealing Brian Schneider to the Mets. The team is also interested in Gerald Laird of Texas should the Rangers decide to deal him.

    Miller said he has interest in playing with the Nationals.   

"It depends on the situation — what’s good for me and my family," Miller said. "They have a new stadium next year. That will certainly help. They have an up-and-coming team and they have a bunch of good guys. Let’s see what happens."

Burke on the block

    Now that Kazuo Matsui is an Astro, Houston is exploring trade possibilities for second baseman Chris Burke. Burke, for one, won’t be surprised if he is dealt during the weeks ahead.

    "For me, the overwhelming feeling is disappointment," Burke said. "I’d always hoped to be the everyday second baseman for the Astros. I always believed that would happen one day. The fact that it’s not going to is disappointing. But I believe things happen for a reason, and hopefully there’s a better opportunity for me out there somewhere else."

    Astros general manager Ed Wade said he would attempt to trade Burke, who ideally would fetch pitching if packaged in a deal with outfielder Luke Scott. It’s likely Wade will pursue a deal along those lines during the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., this week. How much value those two players can have remains to be seen.

"Obviously, I don’t know exactly what Ed’s thinking, but he made it clear to my agent [Barry Meister] that they’re going to try to trade me," Burke said. "There’s hope that someone will give me a chance to play second base."

    Colorado is interested in Burke, and the Astros are seeking a closer and a lefty reliever, and the Rockies have both in veteran Brian Fuentes.

    Oakland and the Chicago White Sox are among the teams that have expressed interest in Burke in the past.

Dodgers eye Andruw Jones

    The Dodgers are among the teams considering free-agent center fielder Andruw Jones, a 10-time Gold Glove and five-time All-Star. Jones is believed to be seeking a contract in excess of the five-year, $90 million deal Torii Hunter signed with the Angels. The Dodgers apparently are not interested in a contract guaranteed longer than two years, but that would allow Jones the opportunity to revisit free agency with greater leverage after a more productive season.

    Jones’ acquisition would create a surplus of outfielders and probably force the relocation of Juan Pierre’s vulnerable throwing arm to left field.

Welcome to Nashville

    Rain wasn’t the only thing pelting Nashville as media, agents and baseball officials began arriving at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center on Sunday for the Winter Meetings.

    The rumors were flying too, though many general managers weren’t scheduled to arrive until Monday morning.

    The Red Sox are believed to have upped the ante for Minnesota ace Johan Santana while another Cy Young Award winner, Jake Peavy, was nearing an extension with the San Diego Padres.

    There was news as well, as a report claimed the Padres agreed to terms with left-hander Randy Wolf and while the Astros announced that they had secured Kazuo Matsui’s services with a three-year, $16.5 million contract.

Cabrera by Christmas?

    One school of thought has the Marlins holding on to Miguel Cabrera and trying to deal him in July, because it would give Florida a chance to see how the season progresses and because contending teams fighting for a postseason berth might be more inclined to part with the type of package the Marlins are seeking for the 24-year-old slugger.
    While waiting to July might make sense in some ways, the feeling among many baseball people who were gathering for the Winter Meetings is Cabrera will be dealt sooner rather than later. The vibes other teams are getting from the Marlins is that Florida is inclined to deal Cabrera before the season, though perhaps not before the end of the Winter Meetings.

    The favorite to land Cabrera at the moment appears to be the Angels, with the Dodgers believed to be a close second.

Bargain hunting for arms

    The dearth of high-ceiling pitchers on the free-agent market has teams taking a hard look at several veterans coming off injuries such as Matt Clement, Bartolo Colon, Kris Benson, Jason Jennings and Jon Lieber.

    Benson’s agent Gregg Clifton confirmed that no fewer than nine teams had inquired about his client, who is tentatively scheduled to throw in front of scouts on Dec. 18.

    The Astros — having gone 0-for-3 on free-agent starting pitching targets thus far after Curt Schilling (Boston), Tom Glavine (Atlanta) and Randy Wolf (Padres) — are considering Lieber, who is well known to GM Ed Wade from when both were with the Phillies.

    Jennings could wind up back in Colorado after his injury-shortened season in Houston, but San Diego and Washington are also a possibilities for the right-hander.

Front and center

    Look for activity to pick up regarding the marquee free-agent center fielders still on the market — Andruw Jones and Aaron Rowand — as teams that had been focusing on Torii Hunter will focus on one or the other.

    Kansas City and the Los Angeles Dodgers are among the teams considering Jones while Rowand, who was offered arbitration by Philadelphia, is being eyed by no fewer than six teams, including the Dodgers.