Tag:MLB Rumors
Posted on: November 26, 2010 10:33 am

Jays willing to take on 'baggage'

Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos met with some baseball writers on Thursday (since, you know, it wasn't Thanksgiving up there), and had some interesting things to say. He doesn't think his trio of relievers will accept arbitration. He doesn't think the Jays have the pressing needs they had a year ago. And, while he wouldn't address specific free agents, he did respond to a question about players with "baggage":

"It depends, how significant is it? Would it affect other players?" he said, according to MLB.com. "A lot of times you hear about other players -- and I use [Jose] Bautista as an example -- that there are issues and the more work you do, the more background you do, it's not what everyone assumes.

"You find out certain players within a clubhouse are well liked with their teammates and maybe it's off the field issues. So, you have to weigh each case by [itself]. If it's the right player, and the right fit, the right talent, at the right price, then you have to be open to it."

In other words, don't be surprised to see Manny Ramirez paid in loonies next season.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 26, 2010 9:53 am
Edited on: November 26, 2010 4:34 pm

Report: Jeter wants six years, $150M

Derek Jeter
Late last season, Major League Baseball and the players association reached an agreement to stop discussing contract negotiations through the media. And just weeks ago, the Yankees and Casey Close, the agent for free-agent shortstop Derek Jeter, agreed not to disclose their negotiating positions.

And yet here we are, not surprisingly, with everybody's laundry hanging out on the public clothesline. The Yankees, we learned earlier in the week, have offered Jeter three years at $45 million. And now, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News reports that it's thought Jeter's starting point is six years at $150 million -- and that he's unwilling to budge from the annual value of $25 million.

The Yankees have taken a hard line, saying this is a baseball contract, not a golden parachute, and Jeter is a 36-year-old infielder coming off his worst season. Add the $45 million, which is significantly over market in a strict baseball sense, to the $200 million the Yankees have already paid Jeter, and he'll have earned more money than anyone in baseball history not named Alex Rodriguez.

Close, however, is seeking a lifetime achievement award that recognizes Jeter's iconic status and the hidden value of having Captain Clutch in pinstripes. In what I'm sure just is a coincidence, the average annual value of the seven remaining years of Alex Rodriguez's contract is $24.9 million, but as Madden points out, the circumstances of A-Rod's contract were much different than Jeter's situation. Rodriguez was coming off a monster year as the Yankees' cleanup hitter, was 32 and appeared certain to be on his way to becoming the all-time home run leader (and word of his steroid use had not yet come out).

There's simply no way the Yankees, even with their financial means, can pay Jeter $25 million a year -- especially considering that since they pay a 40-percent luxury tax, it would cost them considerably more than that. And there's little chance someone else is going to pay Jeter more than the $15 million a year the Yankees are offering. So Jeter is going to have to find a way to soften his stance while not looking like he caved.

UPDATE: Close responded to several media requests for comment with a statement that the report of Jeter's position is "simply inaccurate," and declined to elaborate. If Jeter's demands are substantially less than the 6/$150M report, don't be surpised to see a specific number leak later today -- Close's client is getting roasted in the court of public opinion.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: November 24, 2010 7:08 pm

Pirates 'deeply interested' in Olsen

Scott Olsen
An industry source tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the Pirates are "deeply interested" in free-agent left-handed starter Scott Olsen, who was recently waived by the Nationals.
"The Pirates are one of several teams that have expressed interest in Scott," agent Matt Sosnick said. "It's certainly a compelling opportunity."

Olsen arrived in Washington in 2009, traded from Florida after frequent trouble on and off the field early in his career. The 26-year-old has been a disppointment for the Nationals, missing time with several injuries and being ineffective when he does pitch. He's gone 6-12 in 28 appearances for the Nationals with a 4.85 ERA.

While his numbers aren't great, Olsen is the kind of low-cost solution that might work well for the Pirates. He's shown flashes of potential, including taking a no-hitter into the eighth against Atlanta last May, and a change of scenery might do him good.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: November 24, 2010 3:10 pm
Edited on: November 24, 2010 3:57 pm

Rockies, De La Rosa look done

Jorge De La Rosa
When Jorge De La Rosa hit the free-agent market, the Rockies were hopeful they would be able to keep him, but it looks like that ship has sailed, according to the Denver Post.

De La Rosa wants four years, which the Rockies are not willing to do, but some of the left-hander's other suitors are apparently ready to make that commitment. The Rangers, Nationals, Pirates, Orioles and Yankees are believed to be in the bidding for the 29-year-old, who is the best in a thin market (behind Cliff Lee, obviously) for lefty pitching.

The Rockies have offered De La Rosa arbitration, which he will not accept, assuring that the Colorado will get two high draft picks if/when he signs elsewhere.

The Post reports that the Rockies have a target in mind to replace De La Rosa, who went 8-7 with a 4.22 ERA last season, in the rotation: free agent Jon Garland. Garland is looking for a multi-year deal after winning 14 games for the Padres last season.

"We have some interest in Jon," general manager Dan O'Dowd said. "He's in that grouping of guys that we've certainly talked about. He's one of the guys who could certainly take care of what our needs are."

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: November 24, 2010 11:00 am

Rangers plan to talk extension with Hamilton

Hamilton The Rangers plan to approach AL MVP Josh Hamilton about a contract extension this offseason, as ESPN Dallas reports.

Just don't expect Hamilton to get involved in the discussions.

"That’s why I have an agent,” Hamilton said during his Tuesday press conference. "I stay out of it. I get paid to play the game. I don’t get paid to think about getting paid."

Hamilton did add that his experience frittering away his $4 million signing bonus from Tampa Bay on drugs has made him realize he can't enjoy money and the material things that come along with it. That said, Hamilton still expects to be paid fair market value.

That should be a massive haul for an outfielder, even with injury concerns and a late start to his big-league career. Hamilton made an immediate impact once hitting the majors in 2007 and hasn't looked back.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 24, 2010 9:38 am
Edited on: November 24, 2010 9:56 am

Rangers were on Martinez, interested in Konerko

Konerko Before Victor Martinez chose the Tigers, the Rangers were in on the catcher's services, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal .

This is a bit of a surprise, given the Rangers are expected to stay in the thick of the Cliff Lee bidding until the bitter end (and it probably will turn out bitter with Lee being fitting for pinstripes) and also dealing with bringing back Vladimir Guerrero.

However, it appears that's not stopping the Rangers from trying to upgrade elsewhere -- such as first base, where the club is interested in longtime White Sox Paul Konerko.

Konerko is widely expected to return to Chicago but if he does not, wants to go to a team that is close to his home in Arizona. The Rangers count among these teams, although the Diamondbacks, Dodgers and Angels are closer. Helping Texas is its spring training facility in Arizona.

Konerko would actually be a nice get for the Rangers. He would be going to another hitting-friendly ballpark and the club has both first base and DH wide open, as Mitch Moreland isn't enough to serve as a block at first base.

Coming off a career year, Konerko is sure to get at least a two year deal and could wind up with three when all is said and done.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: November 24, 2010 9:20 am
Edited on: November 24, 2010 9:56 am

Huff mystery team was Dodgers

Huff When Aubrey Huff re-upped with the Giants for two years and $22 million, it was revealed that a mystery team had been in on Huff.

San Francisco was allowed to match the offer, which is why Huff is back in town.

But who was the mystery team?

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports names the Dodgers, although it could not be confirmed whether the Dodgers actually made the offer. If he had signed in L.A. it would likely have spelled the end of James Loney at first or the club could have tried to slot Huff in left field.

Instead, the Dodgers will have to go in another direction.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: November 23, 2010 9:31 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2010 9:31 pm

Fully healthy, Berkman plans to bounce back

Berkman Lance Berkman doesn't think he's a declining player, although he's aware he's viewed that way.

Berkman, who may be ticketed for the Hall of Fame one day, hit .248/.368/.413 in 481 plate appearances between the Astros and Yankees last season and was largely limited to DH duties for New York. Berkman attributes his poor play on offense and limited ability on defense to his arthroscopic surgery, performed on March 12.

“My knee was hurt all year," Berkman told FOX Sports . The kind of injury I had prevented me from using my legs when I hit. In my mind, I can scratch that off and say that I’ll be healthy next year, be the player I was prior to the 2009 season. That’s kind of how I’m looking at it.

Berkman hit .312/.420/.567 in 2008 with 46 doubles and 29 home runs. While the expectation to produce at that level for someone who wil be 35 by Opening Day is a long shot, he certainly has the potential to rebound with a strong season.

"Obviously, I’ve got to get an opportunity. I’ve got to go out there and prove it. Guys get to be 34-35-36, their production starts to drop off for whatever reason. There is always that [red] flag or question mark. But in the history of game, there are plenty of guys who have been extremely productive into their middle and late 30s.

"I plan to be one of those guys who bounces back and re-establishes myself."

And it might not be at DH or first base.

"I can go back and play either left field or right field," Berkman said. "I don’t think I’d have any problem with that at all. I’ve talked to some teams that agree with my assessment of where I am physically, that think I’m still moving around good enough to play out there."

Berkman notes that Oakland has been the most aggressive about trying to get Berkman, but he simply isn't ready to DH.

"I’m certainly talking to them," Berkman says of the A’s. "But that’s a situation where they’ve got a very good young first baseman defensively [Daric Barton], and a glut of outfielders.

"I think they’re looking for a DH. I’m not ready to be a full-time DH. I’m not ruling them out. But I’m not jumping up and down excited about going out and DHing."

Berkman may not have to, as he says the Cubs have called about him filling their first-base vacancy, while a source tells FOX Sports that the Rockies have also inquired.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com