Tag:MLB Rumors
Posted on: December 6, 2011 11:46 pm
 

Is 'mystery team' on Pujols the Angels?



By Matt Snyder


DALLAS -- For the past two days, it was thought that free agent first baseman Albert Pujols was choosing between the Miami Marlins and the only team he's ever known: The St. Louis Cardinals. Tuesday night, however, reports surfaced that there was an unknown, third team bidding for Pujols' services. The belief, according to sources of CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler and several other reporters, is that this "mystery team" is the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The move would be intriguing. First of all, earlier this winter, the Angels were telling everyone who would listen they couldn't spend much money this offseason. But lately they've been said to be the frontrunner for free agent pitcher C.J. Wilson. Also, asked earlier Tuesday by media if he preferred a pitcher or hitter, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he'd rather have a pitcher.

MLB Winter Meetings
Still, the Angels don't have that one big bat in the middle of their batting order, and Pujols definitely would fill that void. It's possible the Angels could backload what will likely be a very long-term deal in order to get through the next few years of rough payroll. Also, a move to the American League would make sense, considering Pujols could serve as a designated hitter once he hit his late 30s. That could extend his career a bit.

So is it the Angels? We still can't be sure. CBSSports.com's Scott Miller is "highly skeptical" that it's the Angels because he doesn't believe owner Arte Moreno would shell out that kind of dough at this time.

Others have speculated the Cubs are the mystery team, in an attempt to make sure the Cardinals either lose Pujols to the Marlins or overpay to keep Pujols.

The situation is certainly fluid. Stay tuned.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 6, 2011 10:11 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 10:33 pm
 

Report: Mets sign Frank Francisco

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- The Mets have all of a sudden been incredibly active Tuesday night. Not only did they sign a potential closer and make a trade, but now they've signed another potential closer: Frank Francisco. Ken Davidoff of Newsday is reporting the Mets have agreed to sign Francisco to a two-year deal, pending a physical. Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com reports that the deal is for $12 million.

MLB Winter Meetings
Francisco, 32, has a similar track record to newly-signed Met Jon Rauch, in terms of closing experience. In 2011, Francisco closed 17 games in 21 chances with a 3.55 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 53 strikeouts in 50 2/3 innings. He has 49 career saves, but, like Rauch, has never held down a closing job for an entire season. The closest was in 2009, when Francisco had 25 saves, but C.J. Wilson also had 14 saves for the Rangers that year.

Expect Francisco and Rauch to battle for the closing job, maybe even split it, in 2011 with Bobby Parnell and newly-acquired Ramon Ramirez setting up. If the contract terms are any factor, Francisco will get first dibs at closing, because his deal is for longer and more annual money. Plus, Francisco was six-for-six in saves with a 2.70 ERA in September.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 6, 2011 9:07 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 10:38 pm
 

Mets sign Jon Rauch

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- The New York Mets have signed potential closer Jon Rauch, confirms Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. The deal is pending a physical and is for one year. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports the deal is for $3.5 million with performance bonuses. Sherman also notes the Mets expect to sign one more "closer-type" to compete for the job with Rauch. (Update: That's already happened, as the Mets have added Frank Francisco)

The moves keep Bobby Parnell in setup duties, alongside newly acquired Ramon Ramirez.

Rauch, 33, had 11 saves in 16 chances last season for the Blue Jays. He had a 4.85 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and 35 strikeouts in 52 innings. The reason the Mets likely wanted another "closer-type" pitcher is because Rauch has never really been able to hold down a closing job for an entire season. He's been the closer for the Nationals, but was dealt midseason to setup for the D-Backs. He was then the Twins' closer, but they traded midseason for Matt Capps and made him the closer. Rauch does have 58 career saves, but he's hardly a lockdown closer.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 6, 2011 7:46 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 3:42 pm
 

David Ortiz accepts arbitration, stays in Boston



By Matt Snyder


DALLAS -- All-Star designated hitter David Ortiz will remain with the Red Sox. The Red Sox offered him arbitration back in November, which was a no-brainer considering that meant they would receive draft pick compensation if he signed elsewhere. But that didn't happen, as Ortiz has accepted arbitration.

Ortiz was said to be seeking a multi-year offer, but instead will now accept a one-year deal. He made $12.5 million last year, so a modest raise should be expected. It's pretty unlikely he'd get a two or three year deal with a per-season average of more than he made last season, so his 2012 salary benefits. It's past that which is the question now.

MLB Winter Meetings
The market for Ortiz had completely dried up, to the point that he didn't have much choice but to return to the Red Sox. There weren't many, if any, teams seeking a full-time DH. Since that meant Ortiz had lost any leverage he once had, the best idea was to accept arbitration.

Ortiz, 36, hit .309/.398/.554 with 29 homers, 40 doubles, 96 RBI and 84 runs last season. He may be aging, but that 154 OPS-plus is outstanding.

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Posted on: December 6, 2011 12:18 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 9:38 pm
 

MLB Winter Meetings rumors: Tuesday

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- We're live from the media room, lobby or anywhere else in the Dallas Hilton for Major League Baseball's annual Winter Meetings. Tons of rumors will continue to circulate throughout the meetings, so we'll keep this as a landing spot for anything and everything. Check back for updates all day Tuesday. We'll timestamp updates made after the initial post.

2011 Winter Meetings
Wilson, Buehrle, Nationals, Angels, Marlins

• Please remember that any rumor passed along is merely a rumor. If we report something, we feel it's legit. If not, we're just letting you know it's out there. This warning is given with a great example. Monday evening, Jim Duquette of MLB Network radio tweeted that C.J. Wilson had received a six-year offer from the Nationals. If that was true, considering everything we've heard, Wilson would probably have signed on the spot. Instead, his reaction was laughter -- via Twitter -- and he jokingly said: "In unrelated news, I haven't been offered contracts from FC Barcelona, the Mavs or the Lakers." Meantime, all Nationals beat writers summarily shot down the rumor. In fact, CBSSports.com's Scott Miller reports the Angels are hot after Wilson while many reporters have noted the Nats actually prefer Mark Buehrle.

2:57 p.m. ET: Buehrle has narrowed the field of teams he's considering to five, reports Jon Heyman. Buehrle has previously been connected to more than a dozen teams in rumors.

4:20 p.m. ET: The Marlins are in pursuit of Wilson and might even try to sign both Wilson and Albert Pujols, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Jon Heyman disputes this, however, saying the Marlins would not go after Wilson if Pujols is signed.

4:36 p.m. ET: Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters he hasn't spoken with Buehrle's agent Tuesday, but felt "good" in their chances of landing the left-hander. (Mark Zuckerman)

5:49 p.m. ET: CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler speculates the aforementioned five teams could be the Nationals, Marlins, Rangers, Angels and Cardinals.

6:25 p.m. ET: Amanda Comak of the Washington Times confirms the Nationals are indeed one of those five teams still in the running for Buehrle.

7:00 p.m. ET: Heyman reports the Rangers' offer for Wilson is believed to be four years and $60 million.

Pujols, Fielder

• The Marlins are optimistic they'll land Albert Pujols. Full story.

• The Cubs prefer Prince Fielder to Pujols, reports Jon Heyman. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports backs it up and says the Cubs would prefer to offer less years and more dollars per year. Remember, in the past few weeks, reports surfaced that the Cubs preferred Pujols to Fielder. I have a sneaking suspicion Theo Epstein is doing a great job of driving up the price on his rivals' big-name free agents, but that's purely speculation.

1:45 p.m. ET: Worth mentioning here is that Allen Craig had knee surgery and will likely miss the first month of the 2012 season.

4:59 p.m. ET: The Marlins are pushing Pujols' camp, as they want a decision very soon. Miller reports it may not happen Tuesday, however, as some earlier reports indicated.

6:58 p.m. ET: The Mariners appear to be in on Fielder. Check out this quote from general manager Jack Zduriencik, via Geoff Baker, on whether or not the Mariners are the frontrunner: "I have no clue how many clubs are in on any free agents I'm talking to."

9:31 p.m. ET: Scott Miller has the latest on the Pujols sweepstakes -- including the introduction of a dreaded "mystery team."

9:35 p.m. ET: Heyman tweets that the Cubs' interest in Fielder is "sincere."

Mariners, Pirates, Twins, Francis

• The Mariners will meet with representatives for starting pitcher Jeff Francis, Geoff Baker reports.

2:31 p.m. ET: The Pirates and Twins will also meet with Francis' rep, Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com reports.

Twins, Cuddyer

• The Twins have made a three-year, $25 million offer to Michael Cuddyer, reports Heyman.

Blue Jays, White Sox, Santos

1:04 p.m. ET: The Blue Jays have acquired closer Sergio Santos from the White Sox. Full story.

Giants, Lincecum

1:47 p.m. ET: Giants ace Tim Lincecum is absolutely off limits via trade, even if he doesn't sign a contract extension. (Extra Baggs)

Nats, Rays, Upton

1:48 p.m. ET: The Nationals and Rays have discussed the possibility of a B.J. Upton trade, reports Morosi.

3:20 p.m. ET: The Nationals don't feel pressure to move for a center fielder, reports Comak. She notes that general manager Mike Rizzo feels comfortable with the thought of Jayson Werth playing center field and soon-to-be major-leaguer Bryce Harper taking over in right. Manager Davey Johnson said virtually the same thing Monday during his media session.

D-Backs, Saunders

1:55 p.m. ET: The Diamondbacks could extend or trade Joe Saunders. Full story.

Rockies, Street, Padres

2:45 p.m. ET: The Rockies continue to shop closer Huston Street on the trade market, reports Jayson Stark of ESPN.com, also mentioning the Padres as a possibility.

4:30 p.m. ET: Miller reports Street is "very available" and the Rockies are looking for starting pitching in return.

Mets

3:42 p.m. ET: The Mets are "closing in" on a late-inning reliever, though not Francisco Cordero, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Red Sox, Ortiz, Miller

3:43 p.m. ET: The market for designated hitter David Ortiz has dwindled down to basically the Red Sox, reports Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. There aren't many teams looking for just a DH, for one, and also note that a team would have to cough up a compensatory draft pick for Big Papi. So he's likely destined to stay in Boston.

5:24 p.m. ET: The Red Sox have signed pitcher Andrew Miller to a one-year contract, the club announced. He'll get a shot to compete for the starting rotation at this point.

7:02 p.m. ET: Ortiz plans to accept arbitration and remain with the Red Sox, reports ESPN Deportes (via MLB Trade Rumors). That means he'd be back on a one-year deal.

Brewers, Ramirez

4:16 p.m. ET: The Brewers are the favorite to sign third baseman Aramis Ramirez, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The residual effect of such a signing would completely elimate any remaining chances of retaining Fielder.

Reds, Braves, Jurrjens

6:23 p.m. ET: The Reds are showing interest in Braves starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens, but the Braves are content to let the starting pitching market develop past this week, Knobler reports. Once the top free agents are signed, the Braves will have more leverage in a potential trade.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 6, 2011 11:36 am
Edited on: December 6, 2011 12:08 pm
 

Marlins optimistic on signing Albert Pujols



By Matt Snyder


DALLAS -- Could Albert Pujols seriously be taking his talents to South Beach? The Miami Marlins have grown optimistic on landing the superstar first baseman, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler has learned. Monday night, Scott Miller reported that the Marlins had increased their offer to Pujols. Knobler and Miller have learned the Marlins new offer to Pujols is for 10 years, but the dollars are not yet known.

Rumors have been flying like mad here at the Winter Meetings with Pujols. His agent, Dan Lozano, met with the Marlins, Cardinals and Cubs Monday. Of course, Cubs president Theo Epstein said he was meeting with Lozano in regards to pitcher Rodrigo Lopez, not Pujols -- feel free to believe him whatever you wish here.

Hot Stove Season
Some more: Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune says that this situation will be decided within "the next 36 hours" because the Cardinals need to know if they still have Pujols. On the other hand, a source indicated to CBSSports.com that this isn't necessarily the case. Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Cubs have submitted an offer to Pujols, but MLB.com's Carrie Muskat said that isn't true. Derrick Gould of the Post-Dispatch reports the Cardinals don't believe they'll get a chance to match an offer, should Pujols get one from a different team he wants to accept.

Also, a 10-year deal is menacing. He's 31 years old, so that seems a bit much, but it more than shows how serious the Marlins are in landing the St. Louis star.

Pujols is the best player in baseball. He's been in the league for 11 seasons. He's won three MVPs and finished in the top five in voting 10 times. The one year he didn't finish in the top five, he finished ninth. He leads all active players in career batting average, slugging percentage and OPS, while having already accrued 445 home runs.

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Posted on: December 5, 2011 6:56 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 9:30 pm
 

Matt Capps re-signs with Twins

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- After having lost Joe Nathan to free agency, the Twins have retained relief pitcher Matt Capps, likely to be the closer. Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports the Twins have signed Capps to a one-year deal with an option for a second year. The Associated Press reports Capps' deal is for $4.75 million and the option for 2013 is worth $6 million with a $250,000 buyout.

Capps, 28, came over midseason in 2010 for the Twins, working magnificently down the stretch for the AL Central champs. He had 16 ssves with a 2.00 ERA and 1.19 ERA. In 2011, however, it was a different story for the Twins as a whole, and Capps was part of it. He recorded 15 saves and nine blown saves with a 4.25 ERA. He closed for a period of time before losing the job to Nathan.

Capps would appear to be the anchor of the Minnesota 'pen now, in front of the likes of Glen Perkins, Alex Burnett and Jose Mijares.

LIST OF FREE AGENTS

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Posted on: December 5, 2011 6:44 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 9:47 pm
 

Dodgers sign Jerry Hairston

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to fill out their roster, having agreed to terms with utility player Jerry Hairston, pending a physical, the ballclub announced Monday night. Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com has learned it is a two-year, $6 million deal.

Hairston, 35, will now join his ninth team in nine seasons. He spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Orioles before never spending more than one full season elsewhere. He hit .270/.344/.383 last season for the Nationals and Brewers, playing five different defensive positions.

“Jerry adds more versatility to our club and will help us at second and third base, shortstop as well as left and center field,” said general manager Ned Colletti. “He brings a veteran presence that can also help in the continued development of Dee Gordon.”

Though it would appear Hairston is being brought in to backup anywhere on the diamond, there's actually a possibility he ends up as the starting second baseman. Mark Ellis was signed earlier this offseason -- for a bit more money -- and the thought was it was to be the everyday second baseman, but Hairston is coming off a much better season. Even if Ellis begins the season as the starter and Hairston is expected to backup Ellis, shorstop Dee Gordon and third baseman Juan Uribe, respectively, on-field performance can very easily change plans.

LIST OF FREE AGENTS

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