Tag:MLB Rumors
Posted on: December 5, 2011 4:09 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 4:29 pm

Dodgers, Harang closing in on deal

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- The Dodgers are closing in on a deal with free agent starting pitcher Aaron Harang, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler has learned. Signing Harang would round out the Dodgers rotation, as they have Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw at the top, followed by holdovers Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly. Last week, the Dodgers added Chris Capuano via free agency, so Harang would be the fifth and final member of the rotation.

Harang, 33, was rejuvenated for San Diego in 2011. He was 18-38 with a 4.71 ERA and 1.44 WHIP his last three seasons in Cincinnati, but last year went 14-7 with a 3.64 ERA and 1.37 WHIP for the Padres. His home/road splits are troubling, though. Harang had a 3.05 ERA in spacious Petco Park while compiling a 4.70 road ERA. The good news for the Dodgers is that Dodger Stadium -- while not quite to the extent of Petco -- is also a known pitcher's park.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:00 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 8:21 pm

MLB Winter Meetings rumors: Monday

By Matt Snyder

Hot Stove Season
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 are going to be circulating throughout the meetings for the next four days, so we'll keep this as a landing spot for anything and everything. Check back for updates all day Monday. We'll timestamp updates made after the initial post.


CBSSports.com's Scott Miller writes that the Cardinals are making every effort to get free agent superstar Albert Pujols signed.


Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com blogged last night that the Brewers were finally feeling a bit optimistic their chances to keep free agent first baseman Prince Fielder. The Nationals are one name that have been thrown into Fielder rumors, but the Washington beat writers -- including MLB.com's Bill Ladson -- are reporting that Fielder is not a target. The Nats are reportedly content to use Adam LaRoche at first base and Mike Morse in left field, with Morse a backup option at first.

12:50 p.m. ET: MASN.com reports that the Orioles do have interest in Fielder, but general manager Dan Duquette doesn't want fans to get their hopes up just yet.

1:00 p.m. ET: Jon Heyman adds that the O's interest in Fielder is owner Peter Angelos' "secret mandate."

2:03 p.m. ET: Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com reports the interest in Fielder is not heavy and his name didn't even come up during the Orioles' morning briefing.

Phillies, Rollins, Ramirez, Polanco

• While the Phillies have not rushed to sign starting pitcher Cole Hamels to a contract extension -- he's due to be a free agent after the 2012 season -- there is a strong expectation from both sides that a deal gets done eventually, reports Knobler.

• The Phillies are strong players for free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez, reports Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. MLB.com's Todd Zolecki confirmed the interest, but surmises Ramirez is merely a backup plan in case the Phillies can't retain shortstop Jimmy Rollins. On Rollins, his options could be dwindling. ESPN.com's Buster Olney is reporting that the Phillies' only competition for Rollins are Milwaukee and St. Louis.

1:05 p.m. ET: Knobler reports the Brewers are in on everyone at shortstop and third base, but not far along in negotiations.

12:57 p.m. ET: Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports the Phillies are actively shopping third baseman Placido Polanco. Dealing him would free up a spot for Ramirez.

2:35 p.m. ET: Rollins' agent -- Dan Lozano -- met with Phillies officials last night and talks "did not go well at all," according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. The report indicates Rollins and Lozano are not backing down from the intially requested five-year contract.

3:18 p.m. ET: Miller reports the Phillies are "definitely" in on Ramirez, but that the Angels (and "others") are also very interested.

5:38 p.m. ET: General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said "honestly, there is no rush to do anything," on the Rollins situation (Matt Gelb).

6:23 p.m. ET: Ramirez wants to play for a winner and has interest from the Phillies, Brewers and Angels, tweets Knobler, but nothing is close yet. The Tigers haven't shown serious interest in Ramirez, either, and probably won't at all, Knobler also notes.

Royals, Angels, Gio Gonzalez

• While they are "downplaying it," the Royals would trade closer Joakim Soria for starting pitching help, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. This makes sense after the signing of Jonathan Broxton, and we also know the Royals badly wanted to upgrade their rotation. Sherman also notes the Royals would talk about Greg Holland, who posted a 1.80 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 60 innings last year.

2:05 p.m. ET: Heyman reports Gio Gonzalez is one target of the Royals, also noting that highly-touted Royals prospect Wil Meyers is quite popular among opposing teams.

2:50 p.m. ET: Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com says that an executive from an "AL West rival" of the A's believes Gonzalez will be traded.

2:10 p.m. ET: Perhaps the Angels are a match with the Royals? Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports the Angels are seeking help in the back-end of the bullpen, "specifically [an] experienced closer."

7:25 p.m. ET: Scott Miller confirms the report that the Royals like Gonzalez. Miller also learned the Royals are looking for a utility infielder who can play both second and third base.


• Nine teams have called on free agent outfielder Josh Willingham, including the Twins, Red Sox, Indians and Reds, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.

4:26 p.m. ET: The Rays are "making a serious run" at Willingham, tweets ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. Rosenthal tweets that the Rays aren't close, but are one of the three to four finalists to land Willingham.


1:04 p.m. ET: The Indians are in on every free agent first baseman other than Fielder and Pujols, reports Heyman, who specifically named Casey Kotchman as being on the Cleveland radar.


2:01 p.m. ET: Coveted free agent starting pitcher Mark Buehrle has been connected to over a dozen suitors. Knobler reports that the left-hander has not eliminated any teams from consideration and is not close to a decision.

4:51 p.m. ET: Rosenthal reports that the Nationals, Marlins, Rangers and Twins are after Buehrle, but that the Twins offer isn't as strong as the others.


2:06 p.m. ET: Sherman reports that the Braves are one of the teams waiting for free agents Buehrle and C.J. Wilson to sign -- because the Braves will then see if the trade interest in Jair Jurrjens picks up.

Twins, Capps, Rangers, David Murphy

2:42 p.m. ET: The Twins have asked the Rangers about the availability of David Murphy, tweets ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. Rosenthal countered by saying the Rangers are "reluctant to compromise outfield depth."

6:57 p.m. ET: The Twins have re-signed Matt Capps. Full story.

Dodgers, Harang, Hairston

3:29 p.m. ET: The Dodgers are making progress on signing free agent starting pitcher Aaron Harang. Full story.

6:06 p.m. ET: The Dodgers have signed Jerry Hairston. Full story.


4:45 p.m. ET: C.J. Wilson has a six-year offer from a team other than the Rangers, reports Jeff Wilson. MLB Trade Rumors notes the Rangers, Angels, Nationals, Marlins and that dreaded "mystery team" are currently in the mix for Wilson's services. If he comes off the market, expect the heat to increase on the already-beloved Mark Buehrle. The two are easily the best left-handed starters out there.


6:58 p.m. ET: The teams interested in relief pitcher Octavio Dotel are the Reds, Cardinals, Brewers, Tigers and Mets, reports Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.


7:23 p.m. ET: The Astros are looking to trade veterans Brett Myers and Carlos Lee. Scott Miller has the full story.


7:26 p.m. ET: Miller has learned the Giants are willing to trade infielder Jeff Keppinger, outfielder Andres Torres and relief pitcher Ramon Ramirez.

Hat-tip: MLB Trade Rumors

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 5, 2011 11:12 am

Large-market Marlins? It's entirely possible

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- Remember back when the Marlins pushed their chips to the center of the table, going large for free agents and eventually winning the 1997 World Series?

Remember the following season, when the Marlins decided they couldn't afford the high-priced talent and went firesale, leading to a 108-loss season -- the most losses ever for a team coming off a World Series championship?

Of course you do. That's why it's easy to see the reactions to the Marlins signing Heath Bell and Jose Reyes (and maybe a few more big names).

It won't last. This is window dressing. They'll be having another firesale in two years.

I'm not so sure. Granted, it's entirely possible. After all, if the attendance continues to be lackluster, the Marlins can't afford to operate at the level they're hoping to reach. But there are two reasons to believe this time around it's actually legitimate.

Hot Stove Season
1. Market size. The Marlins don't play in Omaha or Albuquerque or Boise or Raleigh. There's nothing wrong with those places, but they are small markets. The Miami metropolitan area is not a small market. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach metro area population is surpassed by only seven other metro areas: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Houston and Washington/Baltimore. And four of those seven areas share two ballclubs. Notice Boston, Detroit, San Francisco/Oakland, Minneapolis, Phoenix and St. Louis -- among many others -- are behind the Miami area. So this is absolutely an area with the tools to sustain a successful large-market baseball team.

2. The new stadium. Last time the Marlins went on a spending spree, there was no new stadium anywhere on the horizon. Owner Wayne Huizenga declared his intent to sell the team before the World Series run. There just wasn't enough revenue coming in to maintain one of the higher payrolls in baseball. Hence the 1998 firesale.

Now, here is the big question: Will the new stadium and new signings be enough to keep fanfare steady throughout the entire season and for seasons to come? We don't know the answer to that. If the Marlins average 30,000 fans per game -- as management believes they will -- they will become a large-market team for the long haul. It will be difficult to start thinking in that mindset, but that's the truth.

Of course, if attendance can't survive the initial expected bump in 2011 and dwindles back down to around 20,000 fans per game, having a payroll in nine figures simply isn't realistic. In that case, we'd be liable to see another firesale.

So what'll it be? Small-market or large-market Marlins? Time will tell. But it's at least interesting to imagine the latter. And it's finally realistic, too.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 1, 2011 11:09 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 12:55 pm

Marlins sign Heath Bell

Heath Bell

By Matt Snyder

So you thought all that talk of the Marlins wining and dining players was just for show, huh? Well, the first domino has fallen. The newly-named Miami Marlins have signed All-Star closer Heath Bell to a three-year, $27 million contract, sources have confirmed to CBSSports.com. The deal is pending a physical, which will happen Friday. There is a vesting option for a fourth year.

For good measure, Ozzie Guillen Jr., son of the Marlins new skipper, tweeted that he's celebrating the signing with his father. And now he's slightly backing off ... meaning Ozzie Sr. probably told him he shouldn't have tweeted it out. Fun times.

Bell, 34, has been an All-Star the past three seasons as the Padres closer. He had 43 saves in 48 chances with a 2.44 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 51 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings last season. He has 132 saves over the past three seasons, which is the most in baseball over that time span. The Marlins had an obvious hole at the back-end of their bullpen after Juan Oviedo revealed he'd been using a fake name (Leo Nunez) for years and was placed on the restricted list. There wasn't another ready-made closer left on the roster. And let's be frank, "Nunez" was a pretty lackluster closer anyway.

New-look Marlins
Bell had stated many times he'd prefer to stay in San Diego, but the club seemed pretty lukewarm on signing him to a multi-year deal. And a few weeks ago, Bell said he has a home in Florida. So this was a good fit. It simply didn't seem like the Padres wanted Bell around anymore while the Marlins needed to start making a splash in free agency before their fans started to believe all these tours and reported offers were simply window dressing.

Maybe Jose Reyes is next? Hard to tell just yet, but the Marlins have accomplished at least one offseason goal: They now have a bona fide closer.

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

Posted on: December 1, 2011 8:12 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 9:01 pm

Thursday rumors: White Sox, Prado, Kuroda, more

By Matt Snyder

The Hot Stove
Just a few days to what should prove to be a very busy Winter Meetings, so let's hit a bunch of the smaller rumors from Thursday, the first day of December.

• The White Sox are in a situation where they're most certain to be sellers on the trade market in an attempt to rebuild their barren farm system. CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports that other teams are so sure the White Sox are selling that they're inquiring about shortstop Alexei Ramirez and young pitcher Chris Sale. But, Knobler adds, the price for either would be "sky high." Talks on a contract extension with starting pitcher John Danks are in a "stalemate" and it's possible he's traded (ESPN Chicago). Remember, earlier this week we passed along the report that the White Sox were trying to deal reliever Matt Thornton and we've heard rumors involving starting pitcher Gavin Floyd and right fielder Carlos Quentin for weeks. Long-time left-handed starting pitcher Mark Buehrle is a free agent and expected to be gone. Jon Heyman reports there are 14 teams after Buehrle, so he may be the most popular player on the free agent market.

• The Rockies are still interested in Martin Prado, Knobler reports, and the Braves like outfielder Seth Smith as a piece coming back -- but the Braves also want Rockies third base prospect Nolan Arenado and, as Knobler said, that's not happening.

• It's looking less likely the Dodgers can retain starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, reports Knobler. Kuroda made $12.5 million last season and the Dodgers won't come close to paying him that much to stick around. The interesting factor here is Kuroda has said he won't pitch for any other team in America. So if he doesn't want to sign for what the Dodgers offer, he may well be headed back to Japan.

Angels infielder Maicer Izturis was discussed in trade talk between the Angels and Rockies before the Chris Iannetta trade was completed -- CBSSports.com's Scott Miller reports -- so Izturis is available. The Tigers have been connected with Izturis in rumors this week.

• The Brewers, Cardinals and Giants are all looking at free agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez (Jon Heyman).

• The Rangers are hopeful of getting a long-term contract extension done with catcher Mike Napoli (Jon Paul Morosi). If he doesn't sign an extension, Napoli would be a free agent after the 2012 season.

• The Diamondbacks have made a contract offer to first baseman Lyle Overbay (Fox Sports Arizona).

Earlier Thursday we noted that the Marlins were wooing closer Heath Bell, and you can now add the Blue Jays to the mix. They are after his services, reports Ken Rosenthal.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 1, 2011 4:13 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 4:37 pm

Yankees not interested in C.J. Wilson right now

By Matt Snyder

The Yankees can use some starting pitching and seeing as how left-handers fare well in that ballpark, it seemed natural that they'd be interested in free agent lefty C.J. Wilson. Along with Mark Buehrle, he forms the top two left-handers on the market, after all. And we know the Yankees aren't shy about paying top dollar to lure free agents to the Bronx. Only this time, they aren't willing to do so.

Wilson's agent requested a meeting with the Yankees and has been shot down (ESPN New York). CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler noted that the Yankees consider Wilson's asking price too high, thus, a meeting wouldn't accomplish much.

We know the Angels and Marlins are interested in Wilson, but otherwise there hasn't seemed to be near as much interest as was initially expected. Maybe the lackluster postseason performance really did scare teams away. Then again, Wilson reportedly asked the Angels for $100 million (Jon Heyman), so it makes sense the asking price is driving potential suitors away.

Wilson, 30, was 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 206 strikeouts in 223 1/3 innings during the 2011 regular season, making his first All-Star team. He's only been a starter at the big-league level for two years.

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Posted on: December 1, 2011 2:05 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 2:24 pm

Sources: Marlins 'optimistic' on landing Reyes

By Matt Snyder

This just in: The Miami Marlins are actively pursuing nearly every big-name free agent this offseason. Heath Bell is the latest name, but All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes has been connected with the Marlins for quite a while in rumors. And sources have told CBSSports.com's Scott Miller that the Marlins are optimistic they will land Reyes and are simply waiting on his decision. "Hopes are high," according to sources with knowledge of the team's thinking. And it's not just the Marlins themselves thinking this way.

"Everyone seems to think Reyes is the right fit for the Marlins," a baseball source told Miller.

New-look Marlins
Not only is the fit right, but the level of interest and ability to sign Reyes seem to have dwindled the number of potential landing spots. Jon Heyman reports that the Braves, Giants and Phillies are out while the Tigers and Brewers seem "iffy." Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com says the Tigers are out barring any late intervention by owner Mike Ilitch. Also, Knobler says the Brewers are out unless there's a huge change in plans.

So that basically leaves the Marlins and Mets, right? There aren't really many other teams left looking for a shortstop.

Reyes, 28, is a four-time All-Star. He won the NL batting title in 2011 (.337) while leading the majors with 16 triples and adding a .384 on-base percentage, 39 steals and 101 runs. He averaged 158 games played per season in 2005-08, but has since not played more than 133 in a season due mostly to leg injuries.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 1, 2011 1:26 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 3:13 pm

Heath Bell latest on Marlins' radar

By Matt Snyder

The Miami Marlins have rolled out the red carpet and given visits of their new digs to the likes of Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and C.J. Wilson. We can now add All-Star closer Heath Bell to the list. Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reports that the Marlins have interest in Bell. Jon Heyman reports that Bell has visited Miami and the Marlins seem "very aggressive." Jayson Stark of ESPN.com and Joe Frisaro of MLB.com also reported the club's interest in Bell.

In terms of going after all these free agents, Heyman also added "this is no publicity stunt."

Now, obviously the Marlins can't afford to land all these guys. But getting, say, Reyes, Buehrle and Bell could probably be done with the Marlins expecting to ramp up payroll reportedly close to $100 million as they move into a new stadium with new uniforms and Ozzie Guillen now the manager.

New-look Marlins
Bell, 34, has been an All-Star the past three seasons as the Padres closer. He had 43 saves in 48 chances with a 2.44 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 51 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings last season. He has 132 saves over the past three seasons. The Marlins have an obvious hole at the back-end of their bullpen after Juan Oviedo revealed he'd been using a fake name (Leo Nunez) for years and was placed on the restricted list. There isn't a ready-made closer left on the roster.

Bell has stated many times he'd prefer to stay in San Diego, but the club seems pretty lukewarm on signing him to a multi-year deal. And a few weeks ago, Bell said he has a home in Florida.

So this does appear to be a good fit. Of course, as Miller reported, the Marlins are also exploring other avenues -- including via trade -- to fill the spot. Bell's an option, just not the only option.

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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